Web analytics is necessary to determine whether or not you're hitting your objectives. This is true whether your website is a storefront, an informational site, or a mixture of both. Additionally, web analytics can be used for future development of your web strategy, so you can ensure a continuous improvement of the user experience on your website.
Web analytics defines your online strategy
Web analytics is more than just installing a script on a website and setting up a monthly report to show the number of visitors on your site. Web analytics requires analysis. The numbers that your analytics tool delivers must be interpreted before they have any real value for making informed decisions. Thorough usage of analytical data provides a much greater understanding of the users on a website. This understanding of users is crucial to developing an online strategy for any website. Whether your goal is to tailor the website to the user's needs or to get users to change their behavior, what's important is to know how the users use the website right now. This allows you to optimize your online strategy and define future goals.
Set objectives with ongoing analytics
Web analytics is a cyclical process that should run concurrently with the ongoing development and optimization of a website. It's therefore important to constantly analyze and document how user behavior changes when making improvements on a website. An example of a simple objective in an online strategy is to get more users to read the FAQ in the hope that there are fewer users that will contact the company for answers to questions, because the answer is actually already available on the website. It’s a very simple objective, but it can be quite effective if it can help to reduce the manual operation of customers, and simultaneously it's easy to measure if you have the proper documentation of the user behavior.
Don't fumble around in the dark
If you aren't using a web analytics tool there's really no way of knowing whether you're moving closer to your goal or further away from it. This is just one reason that ongoing analysis and documentation of changes in user behavior is critical to running a good website that meets the company's online strategy. Another benefit is that web analytics and documentation of the user behavior is a powerful tool for demonstrating the ROI of developing the website and securing funding for further improvements.
To get started with web analytics, download the e-book "Web Analytics: Where to Begin".