A tricky issue with school websites is the collection, management and analysis of data. This is because schools tend to focus on the visible product and don’t consider the importance of data at all. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why data is important and what you need to do to get the most out of it.
The importance of data
Websites produce a lot of data. You need to do a website data analysis. Your website is a treasure trove of data and not giving it the value it deserves is a big mistake to avoid. From the website, you can obtain data about your users’ personal data, their interests, their origin, the behavior they have when they browse the site (number of pages visited, navigation paths, actions taken, conversions, etc.).
By methodically and scientifically implementing the website data analysis tools that the network provides you with, you can follow your users (within the limits of legal regulations) along the path they take when they come into contact with your online resources (website, social, advertising, newsletter) and you can cross-reference these data with those from other sources such as the secretariat, management or CRM (if you have one).
Collecting and cataloging data can have multiple purposes:
It all has to do with the real world: thanks to data proofing, you will no longer base your assumptions on facts dictated by your personal beliefs but you will have scientific feedback that may or may not validate your assumptions and help you formulate new strategies.
On the net, you can find a huge amount of website data analysis tools, free and paid, valid and less valid.
Here are 3 of the most useful tools available for free, as well as indications of basic uses that can be used in a school.
Using Google Analytics to analyze traffic
Whether you are updating the school website or considering a redesign, there is always something to learn from your current site. Analyzing user behavior provides valuable information and helps identify any weaknesses that need to be addressed in the design phase.
Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google and helps you monitor visitor behavior on the website.
It can reach a considerable degree of complexity, but to get started, a few key concepts and some basic reports of the tool can be enough.
To become familiar with some specific Google Analytics terms, first see some vocabulary:
Page views: The total number of pages viewed
Pages/SessionMedium Session Duration: The first metric refers to the number of pages viewed during a session, while the second measures the average session duration.
Bounce Rate (Bounce Frequency): A bounce is a single page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is specifically calculated as a session that activates a single request to the Google server: for example, when a user opens a single page on your site and leaves without activating any other requests to the Analytics server during the session. These single-page sessions have a duration of 0 seconds, since there are no hits after the first one, which would allow Analytics to calculate the session duration. In simple terms, when a user comes to your site, he only sees the page he landed on and then leaves the site, this is a bouncerimbalzo
4 important metrics to monitor with Analytics
Here are some very important things for schools that can be monitored easily:
Using Hotjar and heatmaps to understand user behavior on your site.
Hotjar is a great tool for those looking to optimize their user visits. Hotjar allows you to track a series of actions of your users by providing different features of its platform, even in free version. Let’s see the main ones.
Heat maps allow you to track mouse movements, clicks and scrolling (page scrolling), and are a great tool to understand what needs to be changed on your website pages to optimize conversions. On Hotjar, you can divide them by device type: desktop, smartphone and tablet.
In the free version of Hotjar, you can also find polls and comments. The poll mechanism is very simple and really useful: it allows you to ask questions and receive answers from your website users.
For example, you could ask them if the registration process is easy or if they can easily find the documents they are looking for. You can make these surveys appear on all pages or only on specific pages.
Another great feature is the feedback function. It gives visitors a simple way to leave a visual comment on the site or app. Seeing what you like and dislike allows you to identify problems and find opportunities for growth.
Who is analyzing the data?
You could configure and activate all the tools described above, but if no one is bothering to analyze the data you generate and suggest changes and strategies based on that data, then all the time has been wasted.
That’s why you need to plan to allocate resources to this task. You can decide to outsource everything to an external company to analyze the data and provide periodic reports, or you can train your internal staff in the proper use of tools and data analysis.
Ideally, you would have both solutions, i.e., an experienced professional who can manage and analyze the data and, better yet, discuss with you possible strategies arising from the results of the analysis, and an internal resource that includes the tools, guarantees you a certain degree of analytical autonomy and can deal with professionals.
I Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
First, let’s define KPIs: KPIs are performance indicators that allow you to evaluate the trend or progress of a given activity – such as a new website or a digital marketing campaign – according to pre-established goals.
KPIs are fundamental for all types of schools and businesses in general, by clearly defining 3 or 4 of them at the beginning of the project you will be able to empirically measure the results of what we did.
KPIs must be S.M.A.R.T.
You have to be very careful about the types of KPIs that are chosen: they have to be relevant! In fact, so called vanity metrics are often chosen: vanity metrics are anything that makes you feel good about the progress of your work, without telling you anything really important for your business.