- Contributed by Deep Moni Hazarika
The presence of the internet as we see it now is more than a decade, though it took time to become a dependency in many matters – be it corporate presence, buying and selling online, news matters, hobby and what not. In this short span of time however, what happens to websites which are relatively grand dads or an elderly to any website which went live in the very recent present? First thing that came in my mind about them was whether they are able to generate the same level of interest to their visitors as before or not. In all probability, if they survived for long, then they sure have got something. Next thing then hits me is how much of visitor behavior data they will be having now. Think about sites of NASA, FBI, etc. which dates back as much as to 1995-’96.
Presence of enormous amount of data all around is so profound that at one point or another, we happen to hit at a time when we seem to be running out of space. Website data is not excluded. If you are living with web log files and your website gets even about 10,000 daily visitors, and also considering that the last time you did a live pages count in your site was somewhere even around 5,000 to 10,000 pages, you must be struggling at times to cope with the growing amount of data. Log files are growing; your visitors are creeping up. There is a goldmine of information with you but how do you extract out that gold.
As most would agree, more the data we have on a matter, more predictable is its future. In that view, considering those grand daddy websites had implemented some form of web analytics solution, are they able to decipher the code of predicting the future of their website data? I doubt! It’s just a strong feeling though and just a few reasons on why I think so. To support that, look at the long list of all kinds of web analytics products that had been around for a long time now – enterprise wide highly charged ones, some super jazzy ones, some with extra level of complicacies, and even to those which are smartly free to use. In my opinion, if we roughly speak about a plain vanilla web analytics tool (most of the free ones and some of those super jazzy and super cool ones fall in this category), none meets to the expectation of straightforwardly showing possibilities or outcomes based on your heap of past analyzed data. They just generate numbers and reports. Well that’s good but satiate a couple of your managers. But there can be more to the story. You are lost when it comes to the situation of “What – if’s”. There is a level of intelligence incorporated into some of the web analytics tools that takes into consideration non web data and also has the capability to churn out some of the “What – if’s” and there is more to be seen.
Companies now go for a mix n match of two or more web analytics tools, each of which would answer to certain specific requirements which are prevalent at that time. And there are people talking about actionable insights. Well, out of a couple of simple reports from your much used free web analytics tool, you can make out that a page doesn’t perform well, a landing page needs to be optimized better, set of keywords can be better targeted, fall-out of visitors from your best pages can be minimized and blah blah. Congrats that you are able to add insights. But more often than not, you forgot about the past data and what value that would have added. But alas, apart from using that dull calendar to calendar compare, there is not much to look into. The question here however would be – how do I…? what do I…? The sole matter is that there is very little guidance on what are the possibilities out of it. Next time when working on those commonly looking reports and numbers, think out that there could be more to it.