2011 Conference

Make Quality Content Count with Web Analytics #heweb11

View Session Description and Speaker Bio

So what?

This is the key question we should be taking when approaching our content. In fact, Rick Allen says we should ask this at every stage of the content process.

Most of us use analytics, but are we using them right? There are two approaches to analytics, according to Allen: bottom up and top down. The problem, Allen says, is it is hard to find answers when you don’t know what questions to ask. A top-down approach allows you to answer your content questions—specifically meaningful content questions.

Allen also explains, without context, your data is meaningless. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of your website? Goals provide context and context provides meaning.

Allen recommends conducting a content audit, which helps us determine what content exists and whether it serves business needs. During the process of auditing your content, rank whether your content is Redundant, Outdating or Trivial. You can also analyze whether the content is useful.

During the audit, look at your content’s:

  • Usefulness and relevance
  • Clarity and accuracy
  • Influence and engagement
  • Completeness
  • Voice and style
  • Usability and findability

A Step-by-Step Process

Allen offers five steps to looking at content on our sites:

  1. Business objectives: what is the purpose of the site?
  2. Content goals: what actions do you want people to take when they consume your content? In order for content to be valuable, it needs to support some sort of action.
  3. Key Performance Indicators:  What relevant web metrics can be used to measure your content goals over time?
  4. Targets: How do you rate success? For example, what specific number will you consider “successful.” 1,000 pageviews? More than 2 minutes spent on a page? A good place to start is to set a benchmark: what is happening today? Can we improve that figure?
  5. Segments: What visitor attributes will provide meaningful insights? Allen noted that many of us ignore this option in our analytics. But this can be problematic. If you are looking at EVERYONE who visits your site, you are going to be including internal audiences. This will potentially skew your numbers. Data can be segmented in a variety of ways: referring sites, new visitors, etc.

With this framework in place, you are able to determine some useful metrics. The floodgates are open! You can now make sense of numbers that used to be generic.

Recommendations from Rick Allen

  • Work with the content owners to establish business objectives.
  • Identify meaningful metrics.
  • Align new content and related goals to established business objectives.
  • Routinely demonstrate success.


So what? Ask it throughout the process and you will end up with stronger content.


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By Liz Gross

Liz Gross is the Director of Campus Sonar. Her professional super powers include designing and analyzing market research, applying social media strategy to multiple areas of the business, explaining difficult concepts in simple language, and using social listening to develop consumer insights and assist with reputation management. She received her Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education at Cardinal Stritch University.