As an experienced marketer with both an agency and corporate background, I’m often asked the question “What do you think of our website?” ...My answer to this question is always: Let’s check the scoreboard - what do the numbers say?

In this exciting age of “big data”, a treasure trove of marketing analytics and campaign metrics are readily available to us. Through a variety of tools, dashboards and subscription services, digital marketers have the ability to accurately measure success and gain key insights into the effectiveness of theirs web initiatives. Deploying a calculated approach based on measurable metrics eliminates guesswork and the costly trial and error method of optimizing a website’s performance and finding the right web marketing mix.

Here are five Analytics Tools that will help you “keep score” and measure how successful your business is at leveraging the power of the web:

Google Analytics
One of my favorite website analytics tools, Google Analytics, is used by more than half of the top million websites.

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that provides insight and useful data on how users interact with your website. It offers all sorts of data, including specifics regarding:

  • Your most visited pages
  • How long visitors spend on your website
  • Websites the visitors came from
  • Demographics of your visitors (countries, age, gender, browser, interests, etc.)

Interpreting this data takes some skill, but you can choose from a number of pre-made reports in the Solutions Gallery to quickly gather the information you need to make decisions about your business.

Google Webmaster Tools
Another free tool from Google, the Webmaster marketing analytics tools allow you to see exactly how your website is performing. You can track where your pages are showing up in Google search rankings, the click-through rate you’re getting on those pages, who is linking to your site, and much more.

In addition, Google Webmaster lets you check for malware, crawl errors, and content issues (such as meta description problems) that could hurt your rankings or traffic. By checking these free reports, you can take action to fix the problem and quickly improve your web traffic.

Formerly known as SumoMe, Sumo offers a variety of tools to improve your website. With their Content Analytics app, you can see if visitors are reading your blog content all the way through, and with their Heat Maps app, you can figure out exactly where people are clicking and adjust your call to action buttons, headlines, images, and more accordingly.

With a variety of tools available, Sumo allows you to obtain real-time information about your site and web traffic and make data-backed decisions to improve both.

HotJar is an all-in-one digital analytics dashboard that’s popular for its heatmap capabilities. Most marketing analytics tools provide website metrics and data you can use in SEO efforts, but lack in terms of actionable insights that can be used to improve your site’s design.

HotJar fixes this information gap by showing you what areas of your website visitors are interested in, with implications as to where certain elements should be placed. After all, marketing is just a guess until you have data to back your decisions.

Moz Pro
Moz is an outstanding tool for optimizing the visibility of your site and refining your SEO strategy. Moz offers limited access to many of their best Pro tools for free, but their all-in-one paid plan enables you to execute SEO campaigns at an enterprise level. Use Moz Pro to execute keyword research, backlink audits, and find opportunities to improve your website’s SEO. The Moz Pro standard plan costs $99/month.

The “scoreboard” always tells the truth!

Without being able to see a company’s available analytics reports, no one is really qualified to make website recommendations and give observations on what to “do more of, less of, etc”. Without reviewing a company’s “marketing scoreboard”, marketers have no choice but to utilize a guesswork approach to analyzing the effectiveness of web marketing efforts.

Guesswork no longer has a place in marketing. It’s expensive, inefficient and severely hampers a company’s returns on their marketing investment.

An innovative, customer-focused, data-driven approach is always the best solution to establish a marketing effort that succeeds in supporting the achievement of business goals!

...So, the next time someone asks, “What do you think of our website?” -- use some of these available tools to provide some quantifiable data that helps everyone understand what’s good, what’s not so good and what can be done to be more effective.