Basically, I treat web stats like I treat my scale: I ignore them most days.
Don’t get me wrong, I do see tremendous value in web stats and think they are an essential tool for measuring whether marketing efforts are actually working. I can see which content is most popular and which keywords are driving traffic to my site. I can also gain insight into what my visitors want and what interests them most.
For example, web stats can help you:
- View how many people visit your site and how often
- Find out what content and which pages are most popular
- See how long visitors stay on each page
- Analyze conversion patterns
- Think of ways to strengthen your visitor experience through click thru patterns
- Get ideas for new content through keyword trends
- Determine which days/times of day are best for sharing new content
So why ignore them? I don’t completely ignore them but I do limit how often I view my web stats. The problem with checking web stats too often is that they fluctuate. So if you’re looking at them daily or even weekly it can have an emotional effect similar to that of your bathroom scale: One day you’re down a pound and feeling like a superstar and the next you’ve gained it all back and then some. (Darn you, water weight.)
Instead, I review my web stats bi-weekly and monthly. I do this for several reasons:
- It gives me time to experiment with new ideas so that I don’t immediately toss them if they flop a couple times before catching on.
- It creates a “big picture” scenario that I can compare to other months, weeks and days.
- This approach helps me avoid the roller-coaster effect that viewing daily web stats can create.
- It’s what I do for my clients to share regular reporting with benchmarks and insights.
- Note: I do make exceptions when I’m in the middle of campaigns for real-time measurement.
This view of creating a monthly schedule for checking my web stats only came about recently. I realized that I was checking my stats every time I shared a post and between my website and two blogs, one was trending up and the other was fluctuating from day-to-day. This caused me to question how content was being received until I looked at the stats from the vantage point of a month. I actually found that despite the daily variations, there was an overall trend upwards.
So, for now, my web stats and my scale will both have to wait until the monthly weigh-in.
What about you? How often do you check your web stats?