Over the years I have heard the refrain often: “After the new site is built, I will want to focus on analytics.”
It may sound like a reasonable progression but it is not. In fact it leaves the marketer at risk in two important ways:
First: suggesting you hadn’t needed to learn anything from your current site that might inform the creation of the new one. Can that really be the case? What if your new site performs worse than your old one? If so, it could be because you never mapped learnings from the analytics on the old site to new content areas on the new one.
Second: you’re going to have a new site in the market for quite some time–perhaps months–before knowing anything about its effectiveness. How much opportunity have you lost? How many potential customers? You just won’t know without building in analytics from the start.
The right way to position measurement as it relates to a new site is twofold:
- make sure you create a new site based on what worked (and what did not) in the old one. This presumes you’ve measured the old one so you can learn what needs fixing.
- incorporate measurement not later than when you’re building wireframes for the new site (even if you go into it with no insight from measuring the old content). This will allow you to work out both basic and custom reporting based on what’s being built while it’s being built. Often when analytics experts talk to developers at this stage, they come up with time-saving and creative solutions about how to track specific behaviors that will be important in determining content success.
Typically it takes some time to create a reporting design, a data collection plan, and to implement the same properly. With a little planning, you can have information about user behavior from the moment you launch. Knowing this will save time and money rather quickly as you adjust new content to drive conversions now, rather than later and with more difficulty.