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Not Your Father's Web Analytics

HighEdWeb Analytics Summit logo with the HighEdWeb logo in black with the word Analytics in blue to the right and the word Summit below that in black.

Calling All HigherEd!

Web analytics isn’t just for page views anymore.

Although Web analytics has been around for about 30 years, it wasn’t until 2004 that "Web analytics became more established as an essential tool for web optimization, providing increasingly complex solutions that reported massive amounts of data." ~ A Brief History of Web Analytics

Today, web analytics is used for measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, optimizing website performance, tracking website traffic, and gaining insight to help meet business objectives. But other analytics uses can directly impact your content quality and user experience.

Web Governance

Did you know that analytics is part of a successful web governance strategy

That’s right! Web analytics plays a significant role in web governance by providing valuable data that can inform decision-making and help you measure the effectiveness of your website. Here’s one metric that you can bake into your web governance strategy.

Determine User Behavior

Metrics such as which pages are most popular, how long visitors stay on your site, and which keywords they used to find your site can help provide you insights into your website users’ behavior. This information can help you understand what content resonates with your audience and which areas of your website may need improvement.

Also, by analyzing data on user behavior, you can identify which pages are causing frustration or confusion, conduct automated and manual accessibility testing on those pages, and remediate them as necessary to improve the overall user experience. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you're looking to improve your SEO for increased website traffic, increased brand visibility and awareness, and improved user experience for your website visitors, leveraging web analytics is a great place to start. A couple of ways to do that are:

  • Identifying popular keywords - Web analytics can identify keywords that are driving the most traffic to your website. That information can be used to optimize your content around those keywords.
  • Track conversions - Tracking conversions, such as purchases or form submissions, can help you identify which pages drive those conversions. And That can help you optimize those pages for better search engine rankings.

Accessibility Improvements

Answering the following three questions from Josh Harrison, Intuit's senior software engineer can help you and your team use analytics to measure the success of your accessibility remediation activities:  

  1. How do I know when an accessibility update is actually being used?
    1. use Google Tag Manager to ID what keys are pressed by keyboard users
    2. use the "label" property to tag the event as "a11y"
      "category": "edit_time",
      "action": "changing job code using keypress event",

      "label": "a11y",
      "other": "keyCode: ENTER KEY (13)"
  2. How can I track what changes are most successful?
    1. Discoverability - Document the date, time, and location within the digital asset that your accessibility fix was released. Using the data collected (see the above paragraph), you can now determine when and how often that fix is being used. "This discoverability data has proven valuable not only to validating the efforts but also to reinforce and encourage the developers who are making the changes."

  3. How do I prove time spent towards a code change has value?
    1. Success for one - success for many Intuit uses a process they call Follow Me Home.
      It goes like this:
      1. Interview the users, 
      2. get clear understanding of the barrier, 
      3. brainstorm fixes, 
      4. implement the solution
      5. return to original user, test solution
    2. Keyboard user, "We originally set out to remove a barrier for one customer, but we found that many other users discovered they could now manage their schedule with a keyboard for the first time. The success for one became a success for more than 6,000 unique customers!"

Want to learn more about web analytics and how to incorporate them into your web strategies? I highly recommend you check out HighEdWeb's annual Analytics Summit! This year's summit will be held on April 25, entirely online. Registration is now open with early-bird registration through April 14.


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner