Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Analytics integration, part of Mapping the Modern Web Design Process.
- To monitor the effectiveness of your content, design, development and marketing, analytics should be deeply integrated into your site. Analytics will give you hard data on visitor behavior on the site and can help you uncover positive and negative patterns that can be addressed. What type of analytics will work best for your site is an open question. There are many analytic providers to choose from and they all provide slightly different services. I find that adding multiple analytic services and cross referencing the results can be quite helpful in getting a clear picture of user behavior.
I also recommend splitting analytics between site traffic and social media traffic. To that end, using a third party service like Add This or Share This for social media sharing can be a big help. These services run detailed statistics on sharing behavior on your site and can even track reshares and viral factors across multiple social networks. Facebook provides their own analytics platform for sharing and interactions with the site and this data can be useful particularly if a large portion of your target market are heavy Facebook users.
Like social media optimization analytics integration is not a one size fits all endeavor. What type of analytics you need and what analytics goals you want to achieve depends on the type of site or service you are running. In some cases, Google analytics can be good enough. In others, a locally hosted analytics solution like Piwik may be a better option, or you may need detailed analytics that require a different platform. The key here is to find an analytic solution that provides you with usable data your team can use and act on as the site is launched.
Analytics only has value if it's used properly. That means setting goals and analyzing whether user traffic flows the way you intended. It also means changing site infrastructure, design and content when necessary if the numbers don't meet intended goals. But, and there's a big but here, analytics is not everything. If you become too focused on analytics, you forget the human factor. 10,000 visits of people with no interest in your business, is less valuable than one visit from someone looking for your service.
Analytics gives you raw data. You need to correlate this data with real human beings and behavior for it to be effective. To learn more about analytics you can check out the various courses we have on the subject right here in the lynda.com library.
- Understanding what your users care about
- Creating user personas
- Creating content priority hierarchies
- Testing wireframes and interaction patterns
- Establishing a three-track build process
- Incorporating accessibility principles
- Using content blocks
- Testing and revising your web design
- Optimizing for social media and SEO
- Launching your web design
- Getting feedback from users