Given our desire to be popular combined with Google’s desire to give users what they want, it’s not surprising that traffic is the key driver of the program.
But traffic is a red herring. At best, it’s distracting, a stand-in for something more useful. At worst, though, it’s dangerous, because the quest for traffic causes you to make bad decisions.
Why do you have a site? What’s your goal? Is it to sell something? To receive email? To spread an idea? Whatever it is, you can probably measure it. And measure it you should. Every other piece of Analytics data is trivial compared to that one number.
Short version: if you don’t understand how to do goal tracking and funnel analysis, don’t use Analytics until you do.
Google offers Analytics for a reason. They’re not being selfless… they understand that efficient websites are more likely to buy traffic, because those sites can more easily convert traffic into revenue. The purpose of the program, then, isn’t to stroke your ego (or make you feel inadequate). Instead, it’s a tool to help you redesign your site every single day to make your ultimate efficiency go up.
Truer words have not been spoken. I can’t tell you how many times I warned against managers touting pageviews to investors over other metrics. If the goals of your website (and DEFINITELY your community) are not clearly defined, none of your metrics will make sense.
Traffic or pageviews is a good number to look at if advertising revenue is in question (but conversion funnels to purchases or click thrus is better). And if you don’t have ads on your site, why are you worried so much about pageviews? Are you tracking the pageviews to impressions in a marketing sense? Are you watching how traffic flows on your site?
Figure out your goals, then figure out how to measure them. Strangely, these 2 important initial steps sometimes come further down the timeline than they should.
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