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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Using Your Data to Understand Your Business

Collecting your Web site traffic and usage data is important for understanding your business. The true value of all this collection and analysis becomes evident when you act on the data and implement changes to your site. After all, what good is learning about a problem if you don't correct it?

Watching trends to find out average behavior

After you set up and collect your data, you have to monitor the activity levels to see trends and behavior so that you have a benchmark for comparison when you're ready to make changes. After all, if you don't know the average behavior of your Web site, you don't know where it has room for improvement.

When you study traffic and usage patterns for a longer period, look for any big changes in the data. If you see that your traffic suddenly experienced a big increase or suffered a huge drop, ask yourself what is causing big spikes or drops in your activity. Determine whether they're related to a change you made, such as an ad campaign, overall traffic, or a random event.

To fully investigate, create or access reports that give you detailed information from around the time of the change. This way, you can hunt down some big problems quickly. If the number of orders decreases and the number of error-log entries about pages not being delivered correctly increases, you know that your Web server or Internet service provider is experiencing outages. If your Web site is suddenly mentioned as part of a big news ...

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