Check your Website Analytics

A Lesson in Lost Website Opportunity

Last week during a website review for a new client,  we were reviewing the analytics data for their website for the past year.  While preparing for the meeting, I pulled the data to create a graph to outline their traffic trends for the last year.  The graph clearly showed a sharp decline in traffic between July and September.  It was a big difference.  Before the decline their site was seeing 2500 visitors per month.  After the decline they were struggling to get 250 visitors per month.

Why the Traffic Decline?

There are lots of reasons why the decline like this would take place, for example:

  • A Pay-Per-Click campaign had been driving traffic to the site and they discontinued it in July.
  • An offline advertising campaign ended that had been drawing visitors.
  • Seasonal business patterns where customers typically don’t buy during this time of year.
  • Regular website maintenance stopped and website content has remained the same since.

The Bigger Problem

When the website team reconvened, I brought the website traffic graph to their attention.  I wanted to brainstorm why their website traffic would suffer such a severe drop.  The team assured me that they were not a seasonal business, so we could eliminate that as a possibility. Obviously, if we could figure out what they were doing before the drop, we should include that activity in their website strategy going forward.  Whatever they were doing, it was working, and stopping had a serious impact on their website performance.

The bigger problem was, no one on the website team could remember what had been done on the website.  We were reviewing this data one year after the traffic decline.  So a diagnoses was not going to be easy.

Website Best Practice

If someone had been reviewing the website analytics for this website on a monthly basis, even just looking at the number of visitors,  they would have caught this problem early on.  It would have been a lot easier looking at what had changed in that month, instead of trying to brainstorm a solution one year later.

Don’t be intimidated by the numbers.  As the website/business owner,  what you are looking for are the trends over time.  Even if you don’t understand all of the analytics measures, anyone would be alarmed by a graph showing a sharp decline in thirty days.  Think of all the extra visitors this website would have received over the past year had someone caught this right away.  Most analytics programs can be setup to automatically send a report every month.  Put this on your to-do list today.