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Hot Content Areas
Your traffic reports list most requested pages on your site, telling you what's hot and what's not about your content. If you're offering downloadable articles or special reports, you can see which of these are most popular.
Mitchell Gooze makes a point of doing this: "We track white paper downloads by person, and we know exactly who downloads which white papers. We store this information in their data records. We also know which topics are most interesting to visitors."
Knowing hot content areas on your site can give you great ideas for future product and program development. Rita Risser (http://www.FairMeasures.com) developed a whole set of online checklists and policy guideline documents based around subjects that her visitors were searching for.
Calls to Action
One of my favorite mantras is "Every Page of your Site Should Have a Strategy". You should absolutely know which segment of your target audience each page is aimed at, what's in it for them and what you want as a result. Provide clear (and clickable) calls to action at every point in your copy where reader might be ready to make next move - whether it's "Sign up for our newsletter", "Buy our product", or "Contact me to ask about our services".
Sometimes this means directing visitor to next page that you'd like them to see. Dave Paradi told me:
"I realized that people were entering my site on one of two specific pages, which are a couple of my articles that now have great placement on Google. I also noticed that almost all of these visitors entered and exited on that page, not visiting any other pages.
"So how could I get them to see rest of site - particularly products that I hoped they would buy? I included a link to my products page at bottom of each article. And last month, products page jumped to second most visited page, and it appears that many visitors, based on value of articles, are checking out products."
And he's taking this a step further:
"It hasn't yet resulted in increased orders, but I think next area I need to address is writing more successful copy for products page."
At Risk of Repeating Myself . . .
I like to think of Web traffic analysis as "market research that cannot lie". The reports show you what visitors do on your site of their own accord, without prompting or other influence. Not to discount focus groups, surveys and asking your favorite clients for feedback - those are important tools as well, but not as powerful.
So, if you haven't clearly defined strategies, target markets and outcomes for your site, and if you aren't looking at your metrics to evaluate success of these, then you're shooting in dark with your Web investment. The examples in this article show you just a few of many ways that you can use this information - I hope that you're now motivated to find out more about your own site.
(c) 2003, Philippa Gamse. All rights reserved.
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is a Web strategy consultant and professional speaker. Check out her free tipsheet for 23 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317.