“What's in it for me?” you ask. “Why should I measure how people use my Web site? How does it help and what does it all mean?”

The purpose of this article is to give you some insight into effective Web measurement and to talk about the most important page of any Web site, the landing or home page.

Why Measure at All?

In the Information Age, we deal with a constant flow of information from TV, Web sites, email, RSS feeds, mobile phones, PDAs, radio, newspapers, flyers, billboards and magazine covers.

Even the sides of city buses hit us with information about companies, products and services. So why on earth, in the midst of this information overload, would you want to measure how people use your Web site—another source of data to barrage you with even more information?

The answer is quite simple and is summed up best by the 18th century writer Sydney Smith: “What you don't know would make a great book.”

Consider this: your business is selling $50,000 worth of product a week (5,000 units a month) through your Web site. You are delighted with these results, as many would be, and you only measure them because you figure you're doing something right.

However, your competitors, always watching and waiting for their chance, come along suddenly and steal a lot of your market share before you know what's happening. How? They were consistently testing how they could improve their conversion rate online, and after they had maximized their conversion rate they went out and aggressively targeted your potential customers. The bounders!

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Steve Jackson (steve@conversionchronicles.com) is editor of the Conversion Chronicles and CEO of Aboavista, a Finnish company that improves Web conversion rates.