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Data, Data Everywhere, Who Knows What to Think?

Anyone who runs a website for their business knows there are statistics and "analytics" available on every facet of that site. Many people put a lot of stock in those numbers while others pay them little attention. For the businesses that hinge their operating decisions on the trends indicated by the statistics, it can be difficult to know how to analyze them. Let’s look at some guidelines for data analysis.

Be Realistic

There are plenty of ways in which too much importance can be set upon a group of statistics. For example, if your business is considering a major change in one of your products or services, you have to be sure you are not basing that decision on criticisms from a handful of users. Look at the big picture to see how all responders ranked your product overall. On the same score, don’t be overly optimistic about positive results. If you alter your services in some way and then see a bump in site visits or customer conversion, the change may have been a result of completely unrelated factors.

On the Other Hand

Sometimes, however, you can’t only look at the big picture because it can skew your view of the situation. Take the time to drill down to smaller stats and single responses if possible. You may be surprised about the insights you can gather. Just remember, statistics are just numbers. They might indicate overall trends, but they are no substitute for common sense and logical progression.

Return on Investment

Websites are great for business, but they also are time consuming and expensive to run at times. You want to make sure you are getting a good return on your investment in the form of sales, loyal customers, and new customers. When looking at your site stats, you should be looking for clues that you are getting the results you want, such as strong search engine optimization on both local and global scales, good customer engagement with lots of data mining, and site usage like click-throughs and conversions.

Look Ahead

You should be able to use your analytics to make decisions about your company’s future. The ability to find out what is happening now will equip your business to be more nimble when things change, as they always do. Be prepared to shift with new technologies and search engine guidelines by mining your data for best practices that can be tapped into the future.

Data analysis is a powerful tool for online businesses, but it should be managed carefully and with a dash of common sense.