Killer Analytics: How to Use Analytics to Improve Your Website Performance

July 30, 2021

The analytics process can be broken down into 4 phases:

  1. Identify the audiences and goals for your website’s main pages
    1. Goals should be measurable, such as engagement with a call-to-action, or CTA
    2. Define a narrow audience.
    3. Consider developing personas for your identified audience, what they want from your website and what actions you want from them.
  2. Determine which metrics show progress made toward the specified audiences and goals.
    1. With over 200 metrics to choose from in Google Analytics, this task can feel daunting.
    2. Look to combine metrics to show a more complete picture.
    3. The higher education analytics community is very helpful. Check out
      1. the HighEdWeb Analytics Community group,
      2. U of M's Tech People group,
      3. the U of M Web People Google group
  3. Conduct a comparative analysis on a complete cycle of data.
    1. Depending on the content of your unit's website, the cycle could range from a quarter of a year to a full year.
    2. Compare the previous time-period’s data to your current data, review your data for any errors or discrepancies.
    3. Research any anomalies you discover, discuss your findings with your colleagues, read recent blog posts, reach out on slack channels.
    4. Watch for surprise audiences, those not identified in your goals, which are driving traffic to your site.
  4. Create a dashboard/report containing your insights and pertinent data.
    1. Customize your dashboard to fit the needs of your audience, providing the appropriate insights and data to meet their needs.
    2. Google Data Studio, an easy to learn, free interactive dashboard, pulls in metrics from a number of sources, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console, with customization opportunities.

Watch for more details about each step in future blog posts.