I had a friend ask me how to use web analytics to improve the website for his business. Here are some very rough thoughts I had this morning. Keep in mind that certain web analytics vendors provide more on some of these features than others.

I am posting these ideas to my blog so that I can get feedback from other web-analytics users or professionals on their thoughts. Again these are rough thoughts…some might be more obvious than others.

Ten of the top ways web analytics can improve your website’s business (in making data-driven decisions):

  • Significantly increase knowledge of who visits the site and improve understanding of when they come and what they do while they are there (time spent on page, pathing traveled, etc.)
  • Distinguish between first time and returning customer behavior
  • Utilize exit page and fall-out reports to identify what parts of your conversion process are difficult or uninviting
  • Increase knowledge of where visitors are coming from (what search term, web-site, bookmarked, etc) – as an indication of what they are looking for and how to increase the relevance of your messaging
  • Maximize available data on marketing ROI – conversion rates from different referral strategies (natural and paid search engine key-words, affiliate marketing, viral marketing, banner adds, email campaigns, etc..)
  • Easily find broken links – increase usability
  • Increase sophistication of segmentation and targeted messages – increase relevance
  • Use A/B and Multivariate Testing to derive data on hypotheses of how to improve any aspect of your site
  • When using Flash – gauge other usability issues through more nuanced data (e.g. how many times did users scroll over an item with their mouse before clicking it, how much of the video did they listen to, how long did they wait before realizing they needed to click on something, etc…)
  • Leverage the power of the computer algorithms in taking into account wide variety of information about the user and predicting what is the best “creative” to serve (e.g. see Touch Clarity’s services – now acquired by Omniture)

Those are the first ten that I thought of.

What other ideas do anyone have from their own research/experiences?