September 9, 2009

It's 2 a.m. Do you know what your web site is doing?

In the 1960’s (before my time by the way), there was a public service announcement that said “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?”

I often ask the same thing of business owners with a slight change. “It’s 2am. Do you know what your web site is doing?” Most of the time, the answer is simple. “I have no idea…”

Here is the issue. Many business owners launch a web site and then never think about it or measure its success. Would you dump money into a mutual fund and never check to see how it is performing (don’t answer that)? Would you hire a salesperson and never check to see if he or she is selling anything?

Regardless of the product or service, a company’s web site should be a 24 x 7 x 365 super sales person. I’m not talking about e-commerce. That’s a different story. A company web site should be consistently and constantly driving leads and sales to your business by shouting from the internet roof-tops that yours is the best, brightest and most beautiful (insert your product or service here) in the world. It should provide a specific call-to-action to get that lead or customer into your “sales machine”.

How do you know if this is happening? How do you know if your web site is your star quarter-back or, heaven forbid, secretly playing for the other team by driving leads to your competition’s web site? The answer, and the moment you’ve all been waiting for ladies and gentlemen – Web Analytics.

Web Analytics (which is basically special code inserted into the pages of your web site), tracks nearly everything. It’s sort of like putting a radio-locator on your dog (or your kids). It tracks what people are viewing, when they’re viewing, where they’re bailing out, where they’re spending time, and, with the right tools, can even track how much money your site is making for your business…wow….

Using analytics correctly can mean the difference between a down year in a bad economy and an embarrassingly fantastic year in a bad economy. Using web analytics correctly can be the final ingredient in your secret “sales” sauce that makes your competition crazy with jealously.

Notice I mentioned using analytics “correctly”. Web Analytics are useless if you don’t review them monthly and make site adjustments. Think of it like paying for a termite inspection on your house but not listening when the inspector tries to tell you if you have bugs or not.

There are many analytics packages out there. Some are free (I like Google Analytics). Others have a license cost. If you need help getting set-up with analytics, be sure to choose a web development company that not only installs the analytics code for you, but can provide monthly analysis and recommendations of the results. Otherwise you’re no better off than before.

The next time someone asks you, “It’s 2 am. Do you know what your web site is doing?” You should be able to say, “Absolutely! It’s making me money!”

Check out Encore's web analytics services at