Nancy Schwartz at Getting Attention has a must-read entitled clearly and succinctly 7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact with Google Analytics that is the bottom line for how to make your website work for you... instead of the other way around.
Way too much to quote at length here, so you need to go read the whole thing at least several times, but in a nutshell, here's what she says. First of all, for those who are unexposed to this stuff, analytics:
- Consistently quantify site performance and usage. Remember though, that comparison of findings among sites doesn’t mean a thing, since each site has unique goals and audiences. Focus on tracking metrics on your site over time, from the baseline of right now.
- Build your understanding of how or if your site or blog is meeting stated objectives critical to achieving communications goals.
- Suggest approaches for course correction if necessary.
That's not even scratching the proverbial surface. She says the first step in undertaking such a strategic need is the following:
- Define site goals.
- Pinpoint measurable objectives that will demonstrate your moving towards reaching your goals.
- Identify, as specifically as possible, the target audiences you need to engage to meet your objectives.
Then she gets right down to the nittty-gritty of things. Take this next 'graph to the bank:
When you’re thinking about measuring the impact of your website, start with your desired outcomes, not with analytic reports. Your goals for your site will pinpoint the metrics that matter. So rather than opening your analytics tool and getting overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles, focus on factors that will help you understand the whys and whats around your desired outcomes.
And then she proceeds to get into the seven fixed metrics that are really worth tracking on. In just a word, here they are... but you'll want to read the whole thing for every bit of insight she offers on this mind-numbing [for me] subject.
- Keywords — What top 20 words and phrases (keywords) your users enter into Google or other search engines that drive them to your site?
- Top referring web addresses
- Top 10 pages visited (a.k.a. content popularity)
- Percentage of site visitors who visit the home page
- Site bounce rate
- Conversion Rate (goals and funnel)
- Most Frequently Searched for Keywords (assuming your site has a site search tool)
Go read the entire piece. And sign up for her excellent newsletter. I've been reading her for several years now and she's my numero uno go-to for everything non-profit.