Website Analysis Reporting

Website analysis reports are a chance to reflect on the past period, and consider how you want to move forward -- in many ways, they are an under-valued tool when assessing a website.

Some things to consider when putting together a Website Analysis Report:

  • Ask the same questions period-over-period
    If the information assessed is different each period, you cannot compare it. By all means, ask new questions and allow your reporting to evolve, but enough must remain consistent in order to assess the status of the website.
  • If your website has more pages this period than last, you will also have more pageviews
    It's always satisfying to see that there were so many more pageviews this period over last, but if the number of pages has gone up, it's difficult to compare accurately whether or not your site is actually getting more visits. Instead, compare pageviews-per-period on a page-by-page basis, not a site-wide basis.

Who is the Report's Audience?

What and how much information you include in your report depends on who you are sharing it with. John Mills, from Emory University has put forth the following groupings for reports:

  • "Success Reporting":
    • Includes high-level, general, trend-focused measurement.
    • Also includes analysis of use, effectiveness, competitiveness and sometimes external events or factors.
    • Use these to report regularly to bosses and stakeholders that online presences are working and worth supporting — or not, depending on motives and priorities.
  • "Saw Sharpening":
    • Includes detailed, specific, goal-oriented — and especially actionable — information.
    • Measures and shows in-depth analysis of usability, engagement and effectiveness of the content on your site, as well as experiments that illuminate changes to improve design, function and content. In other words, what moved the needle? what explains a spike or a slip? and what can we do about it?
    • These reports are best done on a regular basis and for distribution amongst team members.
  • Campaign Effectiveness:
    • Answers 'what works and doesn't work to drive traffic to an online presence', and 'what is it worth'?
    • This includes SEO, pay-per-click campaigns, e-Newsletters, and other integrated marketing strategies -- the items usually tracked via Event Tracking and with the use of Google's URL Builder Tool.
    • Compile these reports on an ad hoc basis for distribution both amongst team members, and with bosses and stake holders.

Each group has a different intended audience, and different messaging. They allow you to focus your messaging on what’s most important to communicate and to what degree (ie., just the highlights or very in-depth). Your reports may fall into more than one category, and that’s okay — keep the categories in-mind so you communicate the most important tidbits for the appropriate audience.

Resources:

  • Google Analytics at York Reporting Guide
    A cue-card of where to find useful reports within Google Analytics
  • Website Analysis Report Dashboard
    A pre-set Dashboard to apply to the Google Analytics account of your choice.
    Note: once installed in your account, you will need to open each widget and adjust the url listed in the filter to match the url of the site you wish to track. You can also add / delete widgets to meet your needs without affecting the original template.
  • Website Analysis Report Template (doc)
    A pre-set template (word doc) that outlines the information you should consider & the questions you should ask when assessing a website. Meant to be used in conjunction with the Website Analysis Report Dashboard (above).
    Note: this is a general template for groups across the university -- if there are questions you would like to include, include them; if there are points that are not relevant to your area, by all means, delete them!

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