Top 5 Mistakes Start Using Web Site Analysis Tools



Web site analysis tools can contribute to​ design decisions to​ improve visitors’ online experience but also to​ inform site owners, business owners about the​ performance of​ their Web sites. However, in​ many cases, eBusiness Managers, Webmasters or​ Web operations managers, start deploying Web site analysis tools just as​ a​ ‘nice to​ have’ tool. Instead of​ measuring performance and​ comparing it​ to​ the​ business objectives, they mostly communicate the​ raw analysis data to​ senior management, without any further explications or​ any recommendations for​ site improvements. to​ exploit the​ value that Web site analysis tools can provide, the​ following major pitfalls should be avoided:

1) Business objectives not set for​ individual sections of​ the​ site: At most organizations, business owners responsible for​ a​ sub part of​ the​ corporate Web site have not defined their specific business objectives of​ their sub parts. for​ example, a​ sub part of​ a​ Web site could be customer support, which can be further broken down into self-service tools (e.g. frequently asked questions, download of​ drivers, etc.), support contact information, warranties, user manuals, etc. Measuring the​ performance of​ a​ site or​ a​ sub part of​ the​ site is​ only valuable, if​ the​ measured performance can be compared against the​ targeted objectives. if​ business owners do not set business objectives, the​ analysis cannot determine the​ site’s performance. eBusiness managers or​ Web operation managers that are in​ charge of​ deploying Web site analysis tools need to​ help business owners defining the​ detailed business objectives of​ their Web site’s sub parts (read also, "Who Should Set Business Objectives”, Steve Telleen).

2) Site owners or​ site section owners are not trained to​ understand the​ analysis reports: At most organizations, site owners or​ business owners for​ a​ specific sub site can not leverage the​ reports of​ Web site analysis tools as​ many of​ them don’t understand the​ benefits of​ such a​ measurement’s approach. eBusiness managers need to​ explain as​ a​ first step the​ benefits and​ the​ importance of​ this performance measurement as​ integral part of​ their Web performance measurement program. the​ second step includes explaining of​ what is​ measured and​ how the​ measured data can help business owners to​ further improve their sub-parts of​ the​ site (e.g. changing navigation or​ cross-linking sections, providing and​ updating section with ‘most used links’, etc.). if​ business owners are not sensibilized and/or not trained how to​ leverage value out of​ the​ Web site analysis report, they most likely will not even start reading the​ reports and​ all efforts in​ measuring Web site performance using Web site analysis tools is​ wasted.


3)Data points of​ Web site analysis tools are not related to​ each another: Web site analysis tools measure data points for​ a​ defined time period such as​ number of​ viewed pages, number of​ unique visitors, number of​ visits, etc. However, these data points do not provide any value. for​ example a​ high number of​ viewed pages may indicate that site visitors are lost within the​ navigation and​ browse a​ lot of​ pages to​ find what they are looking for​ versus a​ lower number of​ viewed pages, which may indicate that site visitors find directly their information in​ few clicks due to​ effective site navigation. it​ is​ crucial that Web analysts, relate the​ individual data points to​ derive value that can be translated into site improvements and​ that the​ value can be communicated to​ business owners to​ inform them about their specific site performance. for​ example to​ measure the​ effectiveness of​ online support, Web analysts should measure and​ relate the​ following key performance indicators (KPI):
a) Stickiness = total amount of​ time spent viewing all pages in​ the​ support section divided by the​ total number of​ unique site visitors in​ the​ support section and​
b) Focus = average number of​ pages visited in​ the​ support section divided by total number of​ pages in​ the​ support section.
For online support the​ stickiness and​ the​ focus should be low, which indicates that the​ navigation to​ the​ specific support is​ effective (e.g. site visitors need few clicks and​ minimal time to​ get to​ a​ specific support page). it​ is​ crucial that the​ measured data points of​ Web site analysis tools are related to​ each another and​ that these data points are measured for​ a​ specific section on the​ site. if​ data points are not related to​ each another and​ not measured for​ a​ specific section, they do not provide any value or​ at​ worst if​ they are interpreted they may lead to​ wrong design decision.

4)Not enough skilled human resources available to​ analyze the​ reports: Web site analysis tools do only track and​ store the​ visitor’s online behavior. Web site analysis tools cannot interpret the​ measured data. to​ get value out of​ the​ measured data, dedicated Web analysts need to​ analysis further the​ collected data. the​ main duty of​ the​ Web analysts is​ to​ relate the​ individual measured data to​ each another to​ obtain KPIs. These KPIs allow Web analysts to​ deduce the​ design changes to​ increase site visitors’ experience. in​ addition, Web analysts need to​ be able to​ relate the​ correlated analysis data with Web site design (read also, "When Not to​ Use Web site Analysis Tools”, Nicolas Bürki)

5)Web site analysis tools are considered as​ the​ only way to​ measure Web site effectiveness: Many organizations rely mainly on Web site analysis tools to​ measure Web site effectiveness and​ do not perform any other site performance measurement approach to​ improve the​ visitor online experience. to​ continuously improve a​ Web site, the​ Web performance measurement program should include as​ well, usability lab testing, focus groups analysis, etc.





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