Analytics – Paul Canning
Every website should have a goal and using analytics tools and skills you can help visitors reach the goal you’ve set.
The two sides of analytics are measurement – values of the click and reporting – and using this information for website improvement – seeing routes through the website and processes, usability and comparison.
Analytics aren’t the most straightforward of skills but there are lots of helpful videos on YouTube and good online help and support. Generally local government needs more education in this area and I would argue that they need more resource too. In our team we have three people who are pretty analytics savvy but we don’t have the time to go as far as we’d like. There are some issues here that could do with being looked at further I think.
A good place to start with analytics is making sure your pages are tagged correctly. This includes your site search so you can see which page the visitor was on when they made the search and which result they chose (if you’ve got feedback on your search results then you’ll also be able to see what they thought of the result!).
Filter the stats to segment visitors into groups. You can filter out internal users by IP address or other councils who are directing traffic to you – districts to a county service for example. In some cases internal traffic forms the biggest segment of visitors to a website particularly if the contact centre is using the site as well.
Create funnels to channel visitors toward the goal you’ve set. Make sure you have a sign-up and thank you page for transactions and forms, and that you are tracking document downloads, email links and specific links as well so you get a full picture of what people are looking at and doing.
Google Optimiser can help create a plan of what needs doing to the website to improve the visitor journey to the goal. Comapre your website to other councils, use guerrilla testing to drive development and know the bounce rate.
And then use the analytics you get; integrate them with other analytical information such as call centre requests and items passing through the CRM (we do this, a bit!), train staff in directorates to use analytics to improve their own content (Google Analytics supports multiple users) and make sure you don’t just skim the headline figures but really use the information to get to know your visitors and improve the site for them.