Author: Hurol Inan
Year Published: 2002
Buy From Amazon.com
If you’ve been looking for a thorough guide to website metrics, Measuring the Success of Your Website is it. The book is written for anyone who wants to tackle the question of ‘is my website really working?’ – from newbies unfamiliar with metrics to experienced marketers looking to measure results.
Often, people judge the success of their website by number of page views or unique visitors. Author Hurol Inan, formerly of Anderson Consulting and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, shows that these metrics are only scratching the surface and gives readers a framework for more effective measurement.
Measuring the Success of Your Website is broken into a number of key sections: developing a framework for measuring success, engaging customers, explaining dropouts, collecting and analyzing data, choosing the tools and vendors to use, and making sense from the results.
Fundamentally, marketers need to start with four key questions:
- How do customers arrive at your site?
- Which customers use your site?
- How do they interact with your site?
- What is the result? Do they leave happy?
Notice all questions revolve around your customers, not your company. The best metrics frameworks start with your customers – Who are they? What do they want? And how do they search for that information?
A website must reach its target audience if it is to fulfill its purpose, and this leads to a common process. All customers or potential customers go through the same stages as they engage with a website, from (i) initial attraction and recognition that the website meets their needs; to (ii) the transaction process (whether it be buying a product or exchanging information in return for a service); and, ideally, (iii) repeat transactions. Audience engagement therefore provides the common framework for measuring the success of websites.
Looking at it from the business perspective, the company works to:
1. Reach: Reach a target audience
2. Acquire: Drive their target audience to their website
3. Convert: Convert browsers into buyers (or subscriber to your newsletter or to download a guide)
4. Retain: Get people coming back
However, at each stage of the process, people drop out of the process. These dropouts can occur at each of the stages listed above:
1. Leakage: the number of window shoppers that visit your site but don’t buy (acquire stage)
2. Abandonment: Those that start to fill out your form or add products to their shopping cart but don’t complete the transaction (convert stage)
3. Attrition: former customers that no longer buy from you (retain stage)
The rest of the book deals with metrics companies can put into place to measure the dropouts at each of these stages, and some of the hot issues that come into play, such as customer privacy concerns and the costs of storing and maintaining large amounts of data.
As Inan explains his metrics framework, he uses fictitious case studies to demonstrate the principles in a mostly real world environment. The cases are somewhat generic but work well to illustrate how companies can apply and get better results from analytics.
Overall, with Measuring the Success of Your Website, Inan provides a logical framework for measuring your website’s success in an easy to understand format and without technical jargon. Inan does a great job of focusing on the subject matter rather than pitching his own services. My minor criticism is that at times, his presentation is a bit dry and “textbook”-like, but this is still one of the best books on the subject out there.