Web analysis and web integration in synergy
Why one without the other does not make sense. And what you should know before you make changes to a website.
These days, the concept of web analysis is definitely nothing new, but unfortunately the recognition of this field is not always consistent or universal. Web integrators work with all appropriate approaches to offer their clients the best possible solutions. In addition, integrators can back up their proposals with arguments and numbers.
Why is web analysis important for web integration?
To put it simply, there will sometimes be a disconnect between the ideas of those involved in the design stage and what actually happens in particular cases, among the large number of users. It is critically important to analyse and understand the meaning of specific information resulting from visitor analyses, in an individual context but especially from the wider perspective of web integration in the whole project.
A glance at visitor numbers reveals a drop in figures for part of the website. The correct approach would not be to flag up a problem or note a possible decline in interest in the company. The decline could be due to better content in another section, more direct communication and as a result visitors bypass the section. Or, the decline may be because of a current marketing campaign aimed at a completely different part of the website.
Likewise, it is very often the case that data gathered from the website are interpreted by people who work with the website but do not have access to all of the important information and fail to put the data in its proper context. Contexts, of course, go far beyond the client for whom the web integration project, together with the analyses, has been created. Interpreting one set of information may be correct in the terms of a smaller target group, e.g. the client. However, measured against Internet use as a whole and general trends, it may be the wrong approach.
In practice, this could mean indicators showing falling numbers of visitors to the “Contacts“ section, which means that that the client criteria needs some changes. Of course, this issue in itself, without a knowledge of general trends, does not necessarily indicate a flaw in the website. If we apply a global criterion to this issue, we can observe that such a trend occurs in all areas and is therefore not just a problem affecting this particular website. Rather, it is about the way potential customers operate.
To give another example, a global Internet campaign is held to encourage less consumption of chocolate bars. A fall in the e-commerce conversion rates of the client producing and sells these products is very likely to be a consequence of this campaign and is not because of a badly designed website.
Of course, this is just an example, but such cases do exist, prompting the need to analyse them and integrate data so that the information is interpreted correctly.
Relatively large quantities of visitor information data are available; it is thus very important to devote sufficient time and professional capacity to this issue.
Web analysis is also a basic feature when designing and creating websites (especially in redesigns or alterations to existing solutions, where information is already known), but it should be incorporated into the whole solution, by professionals. Their conclusions and results should be the recommendations forming the basis of follow-up work. Analytical data are good for PRE-implementation stage, in order to prevent the project reaching a dead end. Analysis in the POST-implementationstage gives you the space to decide what was done correctly and what needs to be changed a little.
How can web analysis influence results?
It can have a significant impact. Without exaggeration we can say that it really does have a huge influence. Web integration not only combines the orders and requirements of the client, the web integrator and other suppliers, but it also brings a perspective on the actual behaviour of target users to the overall solution.
The added value brought to a web solution from somebody who has been involved in this area each day over a long time is incalculable. This is particularly the case from the perspective of the constantly new information across all different target groups, global awareness and trends, not just in the sector in which the client operates. Web analysis from the perspective of a web integrator is understood as a complete unit, to which current data information and methods in this area are constantly added.
How can web analysis help improve a solution?
A web solution can help assess the development, make-up and subsequent behaviour of potential clients and users of your website. Different types of web solution (product microsite, information portal, e-commerce and others), have different target groups and users. If you are starting with a web integration project, you will need a partner who is familiar with overall trends, at the local and global levels, and who knows how to analyse the behaviour of “new“ types of visitors. This can help you design the ideal solution.
Correct web integration can achieve its objectives assuming that those involved in the analyses and implementation have an excellent knowledge of the various environments and how they function, as well as trends, both current and future. In combination with other fields, they create a strong web integration team, which has all the ingredients for success.
When can a web analysis and interpreting it have a bad impact on a project?
Web analysis can become counterproductive when it is interpreted without a knowledge of general development against the global criteria, or parts of the data are taken out of context but regarded as hard facts.
Web analysis is not just about interpretation of negative/positive numbers. Rather, it is a complex field that should be understood from a wider perspective, with the necessary general view and the view from above. Web analysis should not be about interpreting numbers just to identify a plus or minus. Instead, it should try to explain the numbers in ordinary language. A minus does not always mean a negative amount, and in the context of other indicators can mean a plus. But when described only in numbers, such a result is not always understood this way.
A common error, leading to a counterproductive result, focuses only on a sign, but not on the wider reasons and contexts.
What is the correct next step?
There is just one correct piece of advice – hire an expert! Occasional work with analytical data enables you to make some correct conclusions. If you are dealing with the issue only tangentially as part of your own interests, in your own time, your view will never be sufficiently comprehensive to regard the complete analysis as correct.
Only professionals can carry out high-quality data interpretation. They monitor data and have the opportunity to do so in terms of clients, fields, focuses and trends.
There are many quality tools and techniques available for analyses and so almost anyone can deal with them. However, care should be taken so that experts analyse the information in the final stages, because interpreting various data and combining them is what their work is all about. It is vital that the analyst has the required general approach and access to other data that are not available to everyone.
If it involves large scale involvement in an existing project, a proposed new website or the direction the next period will take, you should definitely entrust such work to external partners, who have the necessary detachment. Damage caused by a poorly executed project may not just be financial. These days, viral adverts, especially if they are negative, spread very quickly on the Internet, and turning round these negative perceptions of the result can only be achieved with a good quality original plan.