Step 4: Optimize

Web analytics is not only about gaining insight, but also about making changes and testing them.

When you have explained why a specific content area or marketing activity is underperforming, you should immediately think about how to improve it.

Let's say you observe a high bounce rate on a travel-site entry page, which encourages visitors to go on active holidays. The page shows a large picture of people hiking in the mountains. To explain the bounces, you launch a survey to learn more about the visitors.

Let's say the survey shows that the visitors tend to be young men who prefer biking. By comparing this profile with what is actually communicated on the page you immediately see the problem: these young men are not motivated by a picture of people hiking!

To optimize the page, you develop a new versions which shows a picture of bikers. However, to avoid mistakes, you decide to test it against the old one. In the next couple of weeks, half of the visitors see the new version while the other half see the old one. Obviously, the version with the lowest bounce rate should win.

If the new version wins, you should not forget to document your results. The best way to do that is to calculate ROI. What has the decrease in bounces meant for your conversion rate? How does that translate into profit? Even if you don't sell anything online, you should try to associate your improvements with financial value. 

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