Re: the Articles
Very inspirational. There's still some "magic" that needs to be explained, but these guys make their cases for using a robust analytical program pretty well.
From the ECommerceTimes.com story:
Jay Shaffer, Wine.com: "It's kind of like a mystery, a puzzle game, and it's fascinating to watch human behavior and try to anticipate and then adjust accordingly when you get the results from the Web analytics."
John Mellor, Omniture: "Web analytics is becoming more of a have-to-have technology because you can't improve what you can't measure."
There are definite skills that come into play when analysing the data output from the analytics programs ... they don't tell you what to do to increase form submissions or convert potential customers. You need to look at your site visitors' behavior and try to figure out why they took the paths they did, and then how to divert them to the path you want them to take.
In a recent discussion between my co-workers on this topic, the questions flew, i.e. "Why didn't that visitor click on the form link?" and "Do people who found us through a 'natural' search result behave differently than those that clicked a paid ad?" and "How can we set up an A/B comparison for our home page without threatening its PageRank?"
Putting up the website is one thing. Getting an appropriate analytics package is another. Interpreting the data from that program is another. Acting on the interpretation is yet another. And having the strength to continually modify your site until you achieve optimal conversion rates is yet another.
As I mentioned in my previous post, 'depending on your goals', this can be relatively painless. After a while, is gets downright nit-picky.
But where will you be, without it?