Q: What are the top 5 key performance indicators for a website?
The first indicator is how effectively you are driving conversions through your funnel path. Second, you want to look at how many people are bouncing to your website. If you are using ads to drive people in, make sure the ad copy is relevant. Run tests to ensure you are minimizing your bounce rates by using a free product like website optimizer. Third, monitor what pages you are sending people to on your website. Whether someone finds your site through paid or organic search, you want to drive traffic to the correct page. Fourth, driving more traffic to your site and getting more page views is a key indicator, but you want to make sure you are driving quality traffic. Lastly, look at repeat visitors over time to determine if people are coming back for the experience.
Q: What is the main difference between Google Analytics and Urchin? Google Analytics and Urchin both have great features. Google Analytics is set up so all you have to do is tag your site, set up goals and funnels, and Google handles the back end. If there is a new version or features, they automatically get pushed. There is also nice integration with Ad Words, TV and audio ads, and internal site search. With the software version of Urchin, you run it on your own server, can reprocess the data, and look at reports immediately so you see the most up to date information. Urchin gives you more control. You can also run both Google Analytics and Urchin at the same time so you can see your traffic in both places. If you have data behind a firewall, you can use Urchin to process that data.
Q: Why did you change the tracking mechanism on Urchin from IP + User Agent in Urchin 5.0 to using UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) in Urchin 6.0? We made the switch from the IP + User Agent (Urchin 5.0) to the cookie based Urchin Tracking Module (Urchin 6.0) is so that you get more accurate information. For example, if you are buying ads – whether keywords or banner ads – it is important to be able to track more unique visitors. If someone clicked that ad, you can track when they came to your website, when they left, and if they came back and made a purchase. The goal is to see what ad brought them to the site that ended in a sale. With is key information, you can determine which ads or banners to buy that will drive traffic to your website.
Overall, the IP + User Agent is not as accurate as the UTM. Whether you’re driving traffic organically or through a paid search, UTM (Urchin 6.0) is going to dig deeper and give you more accurate, precise information.
Q: Do you see Google giving technical support? Google Analytics offers great support via e-mail questions. We can respond through forums where Google, as well as customers and partners, provide support. Urchin offers more partner provided support by creating a healthy ecosystem of experts and people know various niches in the industry to answer customer. We also have free resources, such as www.conversionuniversity.com. Web Analytics is part of a whole ecosystem – it touches organic search, paid search, banner ads, testing, website development, etc. Through Conversion University, you can talk and learn about these ecosystems. It will teach you about the broader ecosystem around web analytics and give you best practices and tips.
Q: When you are hosting a hotel website on your server, but booking is happening on a franchise site or 3rd party site, what are the conversion metrics? If your goal is to drive a sale onto another website you want to tag that link that leaves your site to the booking system. Set that up as your goal so when people leave that site, it will be tracked. If you define the booking engine as a goal then assign a value to it. That way, when someone clicks on the booking engine, then we give the person who will book a dollar value. Then, when you get a lead, you can assign a value to that and then you can input that into Google Analytics and say here is my goal value and get an ROI based on that. The more serious you are with your business the more sophisticated you can get with the system.
We thank Brett Crosby for sharing his expertise with the Milestone team. Brett offered some great insights and information on how we use web analytics, key performance indicators and conversion metrics to track sales, ROI and our business goals. At Milestone, we encourage you to keep this information top of mind when considering which web analytic tool to utilize. Keep on tracking!