In order to establish and then maintain a successful presence on the Web, designing a creative site is only half the battle. What good is an intricate Web infrastructure if you're unable to measure its effectiveness? That's why every business is desperate for feedback on their site's visitors: Who are they? Why do they visit? What information or service is most valuable to them?
Unfortunately, most common Web analytics software applications are long on functionality and short on documentation. Without clear guidance on how these applications should be integrated into the greater Web strategy, these often expensive investments go underused and underappreciated.
Enter Web Site Measurement Hacks, a guidebook that helps you understand your Web site visitors and how they contribute to your business's success. It helps organizations and individual operators alike make the most of their Web investment by providing tools, techniques, and strategies for measuring--and then improving--their site's usability, performance, and design. Among the many topics covered, you'll learn:
- definitions of commonly used terms, such as "key performance indicators" (KPIs)
- how to drive potential customers to action
- how to gather crucial marketing and customer data
- which features are useful and which are superfluous
- advanced techniques that senior Web site analysts use on a daily basis
It's the technology companion that every site administrator needs.
Table of contents
- Web Site Measurement Hacks
1. Web Measurement Basics
- 1.1. Hacks 1–13: Introduction
- 1. Talk the Talk
- 2. Best Practices for Web Measurement
- 3. Select the Right Vendor
4. Staff for Web Measurement Success
- 1.5.1. Staff for Measurement Success
- 1.5.2. Skills for a Web Data Analyst
- 1.5.3. Finding a Web Data Analyst
- 5. Get to Know Your Visitors
- 6. Understand Common Data Sources
- 7. Understand Visitor Intent
- 8. Know When to Use Packet Sniffing
- 9. Write a Useful Web Measurement Request for Proposal (RFP)
- 10. Find a Free or Cheap Web Measurement Solution
- 11. Use Analog to Process Logfiles
- 12. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: An Overview and Data Collection
13. Build Your Own RSS Tracking Application: An Overview and Data Collection
- 1.14.1. The Data Collection Code
- 1.14.2. Running the Code
- 1.14.3. The Results
2. Implementation and Setup
- 2.1. Hacks 14–36: Introduction
- 14. Optimize the Implementation Process
15. Improve Data Accuracy with Cookies
- 2.3.1. Session Cookies for Short-Term Accuracy
- 2.3.2. Persistent Cookies for Long-Term Measurement
- 2.3.3. Improve Accuracy with Persistent Cookies
- 16. Know When to Use First-Party Cookies
17. Alternatives to Cookies
- 2.5.1. Reasonable (If Not Great) Alternatives to Cookies
- 2.5.2. Alternatives to Cookies for Identifying Repeat Visitors
- 2.5.3. Tying It All Together
- 18. Use Macromedia Flash Local Shared Objects Instead of Cookies
- 19. Fine-Tune Your Data Collection
- 20. Define Useful Page Names and Content Groups
21. Understand Where Data Gets Lost
2.9.1. Data Collection Issues Common to Page Tags
- 126.96.36.199. A page tag did not get placed in the page.
- 188.8.131.52. The page tag doesn’t work as intended.
- 184.108.40.206. Page tagging is your only data collection method.
- 220.127.116.11. The request was blocked by security software.
- 18.104.22.168. The information is never received by the data collector.
- 2.9.2. Data Collection Issues Common to Web Server Logfiles
- 2.9.3. Knowing All This, What Should You Do?
- 2.9.1. Data Collection Issues Common to Page Tags
- 22. Deconstruct Web Server Logfiles
- 23. Exclude Robots and Spiders from Your Analysis
24. Bust the Cache for Accuracy
- 2.12.1. Bust the Cache Using Document Headers
- 2.12.2. How Cache Busting Affects the Visitor Experience
- 2.12.3. “Unbusting” the Cache for Images and Scripts
- 2.12.4. The Obvious Alternative to Cache Busting
- 25. Use Query Strings Effectively
26. Web Measurement and Visitor Privacy
- 2.14.1. It’s Not About the Technology, It’s About the Practices
- 2.14.3. P3P Technology
- 2.14.4. For More Information
2.16.1. Sounds Great, How Do I Set One Up?
- 22.214.171.124. Step two: Determine which policies apply to which pages.
- 126.96.36.199. Step three: Select a P3P policy generator.
- 188.8.131.52. Step four: Enter the information.
- 184.108.40.206. Step five: Create a policy reference file.
- 220.127.116.11. Step six: Validate your policy.
- 2.16.2. Wait, How Do I Deliver the Compact Policy?
- 2.16.1. Sounds Great, How Do I Set One Up?
29. Understand Web Bugs
- 2.18.1. Really, What Is a “Web Bug”
- 2.18.2. The Consumer Mindset About Web Bugs
- 2.18.3. Be Explicit About Your Use of Web Bugs and Beacons
- 31. Use Custom Variables Wisely
32. Best Practices for Data Integration
2.21.1. Examples of Common Data Integrations
- 18.104.22.168. Integrate cost data to calculate gross margin contribution.
- 22.214.171.124. Integrate marketing cost data to determine real campaign ROI.
- 126.96.36.199. Integrate customer registration data to drill into demographics.
- 188.8.131.52. Integrate customer satisfaction data.
- 184.108.40.206. Integrate data from targeted email campaigns.
- 2.21.2. Taking Action to Integrate Non-Web Data
- 2.21.1. Examples of Common Data Integrations
- 33. Measure Your Intranet or Extranet
34. Measure Your Mistakes
- 2.23.1. Types of Mistakes
- 2.23.2. How to Measure Your Mistakes
- 2.23.3. Investigating Your Mistakes
- 35. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: The Core Code
- 36. Build Your Own RSS Tracking Application: The Core Code and Reporting
3. Online Marketing Measurement
- 3.1. Hacks 37–53: Introduction
37. Understand Marketing Terminology
- 3.2.1. Reach and Acquisition
- 3.2.2. Conversion
- 3.2.3. Retention
- 38. Identify Your Business Objectives
39. Define Conversion Events
- 3.4.1. Identify Your Conversion Events
- 3.4.2. Measure Conversion
- 3.4.3. Bringing It All Together
- 40. Measure Banner Advertising
41. Measure Email Marketing
- 3.6.1. Things That Can Be Measured
- 3.6.2. The Fundamental Email Response Metrics
- 3.6.3. Things That Should Be Tested
- 3.6.4. How to Put This Data to Work!
42. Measure Paid Search Engine Marketing
- 3.7.1. How to Identify Paid Search Traffic
- 3.7.2. Which Data Should You Be Collecting
- 3.7.3. What Do You Do with the Data?
43. Measure Organic Search
- 3.8.1. The Nature of the Problem
- 3.8.2. The Solution
- 3.8.3. Welcome to the World of Tracking URLs
- 3.8.4. Tell Your Web Measurement Software to Ignore the Paid Search Traffic
- 3.8.5. Now That I Can Tell Them Apart, What Do I Do?
- 44. Contrast Paid Keywords Versus Actual Search Queries
45. Measure Affiliate Marketing
- 3.10.1. Pay for Clicks, Leads, or Revenue: Which Is Better?
- 3.10.2. Use Web Measurement to Identify Affiliate Successes
- 3.10.3. Tying It All Together
- 46. Use Unique Landing Pages
- 47. Measure Content Syndicated via RSS
- 48. Segment Visitors to Understand Specific Group Activity
49. Measure Conversion Through Multiple Goals
- 3.14.1. How to Measure Conversion Through Multiple Goals
- 3.14.2. Types of Calculations for Visit Conversion
- 50. Leverage Referring Domains and URLs
51. Calculate Click-to-Visit Drop-off
- 3.16.1. Make Sure Your Measurement Strategy Is Working
- 3.16.2. The System Is Working, So Where Did the Clicks Go?
52. Create Visitor Loyalty Segments
- 3.17.1. Use Visitor Segmentation to Measure Visitor Loyalty
- 3.17.2. Profitable Loyalty Segmentation Strategies
- 53. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: Marketing Data
4. Measuring Web Site Usability
- 4.1. Hacks 54–67: Introduction
- 54. Measure the Value of Pages and Clicks
- 55. Measuring Clicks the Old-Fashioned Way
- 56. Use Language to Drive Action
57. Deconstruct Time Spent on Site
- 4.5.1. The Basic Terms and Concepts
- 4.5.2. Sources of Inaccuracy When Calculating Time Spent on Site
- 4.5.3. Hacking Time Spent on Site
- 4.5.4. Assessing Page View Times
- 58. Use the Entry, Exit, and Single-Access Page Report
- 59. Measure Multi-Step Processes
- 60. Measure Usability in the Checkout Process
- 61. Measure “Internal Campaigns”
- 62. Use Browser Overlays
- 63. Run Your Own Split-Path Tests
64. Measure Internal Searches
4.12.1. Understanding How Visitors Search Your Site
- 220.127.116.11. Percentage of visits using search.
- 18.104.22.168. Searches per search visit.
- 22.214.171.124. Percentage of exits from the search return page.
- 126.96.36.199. Conversion of search visits to sales, leads, or other desired conversion.
- 188.8.131.52. Average items per order for search visits versus non-search visits.
- 184.108.40.206. Percentage of searches with no results (“zero results” searches).
- 220.127.116.11. Percentage of searches that generate no clicked links (“zero yield” searches).
- 18.104.22.168. Top search terms.
- 4.12.1. Understanding How Visitors Search Your Site
65. Take Advantage of “Zero Results” Internal Search Results
- 4.13.1. Measuring “Zero Results” Searches
- 4.13.2. Decreasing Search Failure
66. Effectively Measure the “Known” Visitor
- 4.14.1. Identify Known Visitors
- 4.14.2. Types of Known Visitors
- 4.14.3. Reports That Help Build Relationships with Known Visitors
- 4.14.4. Hacking Known Visitor Reporting Using Content Groups
- 4.14.5. Tying It All Together
- 67. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: Usability Data
5. Technographics and “Demographics”
- 5.1. Hacks 68–80: Introduction
68. Measure Site Performance
- 5.2.1. Web Performance Measurement: The Basics
- 5.2.2. Integrating Performance and Visitor Data Meaningfully
- 69. Measure Connection Type
- 70. Know How to Use Screen Resolution Data
- 71. Know How to Use Browser Version Information
- 72. Know if People Are Bookmarking Your Site
- 73. Measure Browser Plug-ins
- 74. Know Which Technographic Data to Ignore
- 75. Know How to Use Visitor Language Reports
- 76. Hacking into Page-Level Details for Language
77. Track Demographic Data Using Custom Variables and Visitor Segmentation
- 5.11.1. How to Pass Demographic Data to Your Measurement Application
- 5.11.2. What to Do with Demographic Data Once You Get It
5.11.3. Things to Keep in Mind
- 22.214.171.124. It is usually not easy to do.
- 126.96.36.199. It requires tremendous planning to pull off properly.
- 188.8.131.52. Most often your sample size will not be significant.
- 184.108.40.206. Some consumers are liars when filling out forms.
- 220.127.116.11. Not every report is always available for every segment.
- 18.104.22.168. Occasionally the payback is hardly worth the effort.
- 5.11.4. Simple Demographic Segmentation
- 78. Track Your Geographic Visitor Distribution
- 79. Accurately Measure Downloads
- 80. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: Technographic Data
6. Web Measurement and the Online Retail Model
- 6.1. Hacks 81–90: Introduction
- 81. Know How to Use Retail Analytics
82. Measure the Shopping Cart
- 6.3.1. Measuring Products Being Added to the Cart
- 6.3.2. Measuring Products Being Abandoned in the Cart
- 6.3.3. Measuring Maximum Shopping Cart Value
- 6.3.4. Measuring What Matters in Shopping Carts
- 6.3.5. When Is a Shopping Cart Not a Shopping Cart?
- 83. Measure the Checkout Process
84. Understand Frequency and Lifetime Value
- 6.5.1. The Limits of the “Percent Returning Visitors” Metric
- 6.5.2. Use Frequency and Lifetime Value to Better Understand Your Visitors and Customers
- 6.5.3. Use Frequency and Lifetime Value to Segment Your Customers
- 6.5.4. Use Lifetime Value per Visit to Drive Action
- 85. Measure Potential Customer Value Using Recency and Latency
- 86. Manage Lifetime Value Using the Visitor Segment Value Matrix
87. Use Cross-Sell Data to Sell More Products
- 6.8.1. Quantify the Value of Product Recommendations
- 6.8.2. Data-Driven Analysis: Find the Low-Hanging Fruit
- 6.8.3. Leverage Cross-Sell Data
- 88. Use Geographic Segmentation to Measure Offline Marketing
- 89. Measure New and Returning Customers
- 90. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: Commerce Data
7. Reporting Strategies and Key Performance Indicators
- 7.1. Hacks 91–100: Introduction
- 91. Distribute Reports Wisely
- 92. Know If the News Is Good
- 93. (Don’t) Benchmark Your Site
- 94. Use Key Performance Indicators
- 95. Know the Difference Between a KPI and a Measurement
96. Key Performance Indicators for Online Retailers
- 7.7.1. Basic Key Performance Indicators for Online Retailers
7.7.2. Advanced Key Performance Indicators for Online Retailers
- 22.214.171.124. Order conversion rate.
- 126.96.36.199. Buyer conversion rate.
- 188.8.131.52. Cart add to purchase conversion rate.
- 184.108.40.206. Checkout-to-purchase conversion rate.
- 220.127.116.11. Search to purchase conversion rate.
- 18.104.22.168. New and returning visitor conversion rates.
- 22.214.171.124. Percent of visits less than 90 seconds.
- 7.7.3. Other Important Measurements
97. Key Performance Indicators for Advertising and Content Sites
- 7.8.1. Basic Key Performance Indicators for Content Sites
- 7.8.2. Advanced Key Performance Indicators for Content Sites
- 7.8.3. Other Important Measurements
98. Key Performance Indicators for Customer Support Sites
- 7.9.1. Basic Key Performance Indicators for Customer Support Sites
- 7.9.2. Advanced Key Performance Indicators for Customer Support Sites
- 7.9.3. Other Important Measurements
99. Key Performance Indicators for Business Sites (Lead Generation)
- 7.10.1. Basic Key Performance Indicators for Business Sites
- 7.10.2. Advanced Key Performance Indicators for Business Sites
- 7.10.3. Other Important Measurements
100. Build Your Own Web Measurement Application: Reporting
- 7.11.1. Running the Application
7.11.2. Extending This Application
- 126.96.36.199. Add simple visitor segmentation.
- 188.8.131.52. Clean up duplicate page names.
- 184.108.40.206. Improve the reporting.
- 220.127.116.11. Add user configuration.
- 18.104.22.168. Improve program efficiency.
- 22.214.171.124. Add error checking.
- 126.96.36.199. Track exits from the site.
- 188.8.131.52. Add multi-session tracking functionality.
- 184.108.40.206. You could get the logfile from a remote location via FTP.
- About the Author
- Title: Web Site Measurement Hacks
- Release date: August 2005
- Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
- ISBN: 9780596009885
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