If Content is King, Analytics is Queen

Often we’ve heard the cliché : “Content is king.” However, if that’s the case, then content must share the throne with its queen– analytics. By analytics, I am referring to the tracking of visits and visitor behavior to a landing page or site. More specifically, analytics tries to provide answers to questions, such as: what are visitors doing on the site? What pages are being viewed and for how long? From where (referring sites) are visitors coming to your site?

Finding answers to these questions (and dozens more) is a key component to understanding how your content needs to direct visitors through your site in the buying process. If you can answer these questions, you can begin to laser-target your audience and create landing pages that speak directly to them and convert otherwise passive traffic into desired behavior.

UPDATE: For more information on this topic, check out this recent post by Kevin Gold of Search Marketing Standard.

Sure, it’s important to have relevant, unique content. Without it, your site is just like the thousands or millions of other sites that provide the same products and services as yours. You need to provide a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from the crowd. Your content needs to tell a story that is told in a different way; even if your dealing with the same widgets that thousands of other sites are selling. Find a way to tell your story so that visitors will be compelled to listen and act.

King Content has a huge responsibility to his loyal subjects; however, His Royal Highness would be nowhere without his Queen, Analytics. If you have no idea of not only how many visitors your site is receiving; but what those visitors are doing, then you will have no idea how good your content is. You will have no way of consulting with the King to give it direction and improve upon its effectiveness.

I’d like to focus in on two metrics I think are among the most important you can track. With these metrics it doesn’t matter what type of site you have or what objectives you want to achieve. They are designed to focus on the biggest issue most Websites have – getting visitors to go past the initial landing page, the first page upon which they arrive on your site. An important thing to remember about these metrics is that they give you the ability to see that someone who comes to the site and views just one page was likely a lost opportunity. That is, of course, unless that one page allows the visitor to convert immediately prior to moving on. Also, an important aspect of these metrics is that they don’t focus on average behavior, but instead on specific visitor behavior, and separating the wheat from the chaff as much as possible.

1. Percentage of One-Page-Only Visits

(One Page Visits Divided by Total Visits)

In order to get a quick read on what’s going on, this would be the metric to focus on first. It simply measures the percentage of visitors who bounce off your site like it was a trampoline. Since you often can’t control from which pages people enter your site, you want to make sure visitors can find what they came for right from that page. If not, they need to know how to get to the information they want. Directing visitors to where you want them to go is both a both a design and copy issue, since you can always insert links into your content that lead to related topics in other site areas. Making sure, of course to not let them get off track by always bringing them back around to the desired action.

So, why measure visits instead of visitors or unique visitors? Well, it’s the biggest, most reliable number available. Limiting this metric to one-page-only visits means that you are able to see if your content is strong enough and compelling enough to keep them on site, take in your offer, and make the conversion.

2. Percentage of One Minute Visits

(One Minute Visits divided by Total Visits)

This metric is very similar idea to the first one; however it differs only in that it is using length of visit instead of page views as the base number. This metric speaks more to the draw of your site to a visitor overall. This is an aggregation of the site’s content, design, and functionality all rolled into one.

Track your metrics over time. Generally speaking, the longer people stay on your site and the more pages they are viewing, the better you are serving them. You will be able to see, through measurable data, how testing and improving your content affects the user experience on your site and your bottom line.

I believe Zig Ziglar, the famous sales guru, said it best: “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” So it is with analytics and content. Your site will get nowhere without the latter since visitors won’t care what you have to say; however, you won’t even know it or why without the former. I guess it’s true what they say: “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.” 😉


~ Matt


One Response

  1. Excellent thoughts here Matt. Far too many site owners are way in the dark. If I hear another person brag about their “hits” I’ll kirk out!

    Anyhow, nice meeting you again earlier today. I’ll have to make a note to keep an eye on your blog 🙂

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