I was dropping my nine year old daughter off at a friend’s house one Saturday. I stopped to talk to the dad, a coworker of mine from years prior. He was in his yard, clutching a beer and gazing up at a huge dead tree in his yard. I walked up to him and asked him what he was up to.
“I’m cutting this tree down”, he said and reached down for the chainsaw at his feet.
“Really? Wow.” I responded, “Do you need a hand?
He looked back at me. “No, I have a guy coming over to help me. He has one eye.”
I paused and looked at him puzzled. He was serious. Now, being a person with a hefty respect for gravity, I couldn’t help but wonder why he felt it necessary to enlist the help of a person with depth perception issues in dropping a massive hunk of dead wood.
How does this relate to web site marketing? Well just like that tree, you had better know where your web site is falling in the search engines if you expect to be successful with your efforts to gain more exposure and dollars. Investing in on-site search engine optimization, social media exposure, link bait, and all the others techniques will do you little good unless you are keeping an eye on the changes in your rankings and how well you are meeting your targeted conversions. And to do that you need solid tools. There are a bunch of them out there like Google Analytics, Yahoo Analytics, Clicky and Mint. Some are flat out free, some cost a little, a few cost a lot. The point is it’s worth the effort to collect the data on what people are doing on your site and how it is stacking up in the search engine results pages. What changes have you made on the site that have caused an uptick in traffic? What inbound links efforts are gaining traction? Which are not? I won’t go into the nuts and bolts of what you can track in these analytics tools, suffice it to say there are a myriad of ways you can work the data and see whether your onsite and offsite marketing efforts are paying off. Don’t discount t this information since it’s the critical end-piece to your internet marketing process. Without it, you just a drunken lumberjack with a one-eyed helper, not knowing where that bone crushing tree will fall.
Footnote: I saw my friend a few months later. He’s okay. The other guy? I have no idea.