Acting on those metrics is what takes imagination, ingenuity, and time. But many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the measurement aspect – you know, “playing” with analytics apps – that they never actually use the data they collect.
That’s why sticking to a monthly Web analytics calendar can help you. Because when you get organized around data, it’s easier to measure progress and make meaningful changes to your approach.
The following layout presents a one-month, week-to-week Web analytics game plan. Consider it a blueprint for your own monthly calendar – just be sure to actually create one!
Week 0: Defining KPIs
Ok, there’s a little preparation you’ll have to do before creating a calendar. Besides selecting the tools you’re going to use (and few people will need anything beyond Google Analytics and simple social media measurement tools like bit.ly), you’ll need to know what measurements really matter for your business.
Let’s face it. Google Analytics measures a lot of stuff. If you can’t identify just three critical metrics that really paint a picture of how you’re doing, then you’re almost certainly measuring too many things.
And measuring too many things wastes time.
So before you create an analytics calendar, decide which key performance indicators (KPIs) really matter. You’ll save yourself a ton of headaches in the long run.
Week 1: Daily “Quick View”
How should you begin your week? By not thinking about analytics.
Seriously. Forget about them. Spend your time on something else. Because unless you’re Facebook or Foursquare, there’s little reason to worry about your numbers for a single week.
Give your data a quick once-over every day, and make a mental note. Nothing more. You’ll have plenty of time to act on those numbers later.
Week 2: Comparing Weeks
Whew! Now you actually have some numbers to think about. Around the middle of the second week of the month, start comparing your day-to-day numbers to Week 1’s performance.
Again, there’s no need to create a spreadsheet yet. A mental comparison of the numbers is sufficient at this point. Simply let the tools do their job.
Week 3: Taking Notes
Here’s where you actually get to do something. Use a text editor or Google Docs to jot down notes on your KPIs. Consider areas of strength and weakness, and compare Week 3 to Weeks 1 and 2. Unlike two weeks ago, you finally have some context for gauging monthly performance. Cool, huh?
Week 4: Analysis and Discussion
If you didn’t think Week 3 was all that laborious, Week 4 calls for a little more work.
That said, you shouldn’t blow too many hours thinking about analytics. If you’ve narrowed your focus to just three KPIs, there shouldn’t be that much to think about anyway. Compare Week 4 to the notes you took on Weeks 1 through 3. Then generate a brief report that gives you a good idea of how you’re doing.
Compare this report to the one you generated last month. Share the data with your team during your regularly scheduled meeting, and use the data to tackle the hard part – making meaningful changes that impact future performance and move your business forward.
Adam Green is a digital entrepreneur and copywriter. He contributed this post on behalf of Revolution Analytics, which provides enterprise-level predictive analytics solutions.Subscribe to the Podcast