Relevant information in non-perfect enviroments

If you lose more than 30 minutes a day analyzing your site its probably that you are not doing things as good as possibleMost of the people I know carry on the following analyzing process:

1- Login to the Web Analytics tool and I look at the traffic. If it looks similar to yesterday (or the same day from the last week), then we are ok.  If the traffic is higher or lower, then I try to find why.

2- To find the “why” I look at the different reports and (if available) I cross data trying to get some insights. I also download the info to an excel file and keeps working on it there, since excel is more flexible.

3- I get so much information and things get more and more complicated.

4- I have lot of other things to do, so I leave everything as it is (still with no answer).

5- As the last possibility I ask people from other departments if they have any idea about that change in traffic.

6- Based on those answers and some interesting insights I’ve got, I infer the rest and get the answer that makes me feel more satisfied… Required time: 4 / 8 hours…(the rest of the people leave in the step 3).

Even when it is true that the best thing we can do is integrating all the information in a main “repository”, allowing to answer all the question in the same place, it is also true that for some companies or persons it is not an option for both technical or time constrains. So what can we do if it is not possible to us a full integration?

The simplest solution is having an agenda with al the activities are occurring in our company, not just ours, but from all the departments of functional areas.

Companies are “systems” which mean a groups of things interconnected that work together with a unique mission. So if we modify one particular part of the system, we are also modifying the complete thing, and not just one part. Coming back to the agenda, why it is so important? Because, even when it won’t tell us immediately “why” we have a spike or drop in traffic, it will tell us immediately where can we find the answer. Example, we launch an Adwords campaign and in parallel our website get offline for an hour making that the spike in traffic from the Adwords campaign is counteracted by the offline time.Without an agenda with events or “milestones” the analysis would be:

1- Technology Department: Amazing, the server was down for about an hour but it had no impact to the site traffic. Don’t tell anyone!!!.

2- Marketing Department: The Adwords campaign generated no traffic!!!.

3- CEO: The traffic has no change, we are just great!!!. The event calendar gives the big picture making more efficient the analysis and decision making process.How can I have an event calendar (or agenda) when it is a non supported feature in my Web Analytics tool?

The simplest option is having a Google Spreadsheet shared among your team. Simple and useful. You can also add this functionality that will export your Google Analytics report directly to Google Spreadsheet making your analysis even more flexible and simple. I hope you find this tip useful.

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