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Website data: why words need numbers

number blocks

“I do words, not numbers” is one of my phrases. I’ve shared that mantra with colleagues, clients and beyond. But it’s not entirely true.

Maths was never my strong point at school. English, History and languages came to me much more naturally. They still do. And if my son asks me a particularly complex multiplication sum, I tend to freeze if a calculator is out of my reach.

But (and here’s the irony), I do use numbers all the time in my work. And, what’s more, I enjoy it. Content is nothing without data behind it. Website data is vital to inform your content strategy.

Track website data

I use Google Analytics to track website performance. I’ve also used various other tracking tools such as Omniture and Hubspot. It’s really important to know how your content is performing. What resonates with your audience? Which pages pull in people to your site? Where are people spending time on your site? Make your website work for you

It’s also important to know what’s not working. If your homepage gets a high bounce rate, change it. Monitor your data and act upon it. Learn from the numbers and what they’re telling you about your content and your audience.

Research keyword data

Clever prose and witty turns of phrase aren’t enough when you’re writing online. Ultimately, I’m a bit vain and I want people to find and engage with my content. So I need to produce content that connects with humans and is ranked by Google.

So, before writing anything, I research the most relevant keywords to use. This exercise is predominantly about finding the right words to use, but it’s underpinned by analytical website data (numbers).

Social analytics

Successful social posts tend to be informed by data. Learn from other posts and how people have reacted to them. Research hashtags to find the ones that are most likely to gain traction for your posts. Understand how your audience uses your channel. All of this data will help you to build your following and boost engagement.

  • Understand your audience better
  • Create more engaging content
  • Improve your website functionality
  • Enable more people to find your content
  • Increase revenue.

So actually, I do words as well as numbers. It’s vital to use data to inform content decisions. Publishing content without that research piece is pretty futile. 

When I work with a new client, I always ask about their audience first. Content needs to be based on a knowledge of who the audience is and what they need. A website should evolve according to the data behind it. Social communities grow and thrive by being reached and engaged.

It may be time for me to revise that mantra of “I do words not numbers.” Actually, “I do words based on numbers.” That is, unless my young son throws tricky times tables at me. If the question is “What is 144 x 137?”, my answer will always be “I do words not numbers.”

Need some help with your content strategy or understanding your website data? I’m here to help. Get in touch

Here’s a blog I wrote for PCS on the power of data

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