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You Have the Data, Make the Most of It

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With Web analytics tools you have the data to see what citizens really want on your website and how well you are delivering. You have an opportunity to make informed decisions on improvements to your site to reflect the voice of the customer and get constituents what they need.

Here are three key steps to help you get started making the most of your data. You can also download and use my new quarterly report metrics template, check out other reporting templates, and read up on Google Analytics for government.

Step 1: Measure

If you are using Google Analytics you have access to a ton of data. It can be a bit daunting when you first start. Trust that you know what is important to communicate on your site, and go from there. Consider key questions you have about how your website performs and look to the data to provide you detailed and concrete answers. In my analysis I focus on a core set of questions:

  • How many people are connecting with our online content?
  • Who are our visitors?
  • How engaged are they?
  • What content were visitors searching for?
  • How do visitors navigate through our website?
  • What’s popular and what’s not?

Step 2: Analyze

Keep in mind that throughout your analysis, it’s important to interpret your metrics in context.

  • Consider the purpose of your site. Take your bounce rate, for example, (the percentage of visitors who only looked at one page and immediately left your site). If your site primarily serves to refer visitors to other websites, then you would expect to see a higher bounce rate, perhaps 70% or above. On the other hand, if the purpose of your website is to provide content, you might hope to see a bounce rate closer to 30% or 40%.
  • Look at how your metrics relate to one another. When looking at your bounce rate, for example, consider how it compares to your other engagement metrics, like time on site. This helps tell a fuller story about the experience your users are having.
  • Listen to what your users have to say. Customer satisfaction information and usability testing can provide valuable context for interpreting your metrics. If you aren’t sure whether your bounce rate suggests users are quickly finding what they want and leaving, or that they simply left unsatisfied, there’s nothing like hearing feedback directly from your users themselves.
  • Consider what surprised you in the data. You know your site well; if something surprised you, it’s worth exploring.

Step 3: Act

  • Focus on key areas where changes could improve users’ experience.
  • Make changes that will align with your agency’s strategic objectives.

In thinking about where to start when it comes to making site improvements, keep your strategic objectives in mind. Consider what steps you can take to best support your goals based on the data.

How to Tell a Story with Your Metrics

  • Think about where you see room for improvement. Your ideas for site enhancements can help bring meaning to your metrics in your writing.
  • Present your data in style. If you would be bored reading your report, chances are so will others, and they may just miss the message (the same rule applies to presentations).**** Don’t be afraid to try something new, and make sure to use meaningful graphics to break up text. Download the newest quarterly report template today!

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