Have a great website for your apartment community up and running? Congratulations! But do you know how to understand how successful it is? If not, it’s likely you’re new to the world of web analytics. Erika Schnitzer, Managing Editor at MultiHousing News, wrote on the importance of knowing what different statistics from your website need. And critically, she emphasized, it’s key to pay attention from the early stages of your website. Here’s an overview of some important points she made.
Metadata rules. Metadata is data about your data. While your data might be parameters like ‘how many visitors are coming to your site every day’, the critical metadata is information such as what search parameters people type into Google or Bing that lead them to arrive at your website. This metadata is huge because it’s essentially telling you about the doorway to your site: search engines. Understanding what gets people through the door is going to help make changes to help you get more people in the door…and more prospective renters looking at your property or properties.
Following demand trends can help you predict the future. Look at the trends in your website views. See how they change month to month, during different times of day, and with different products offered. In her article, Schnitzer emphasizes that increases in interest in a certain property on your website could allow you to anticipate an increase in business in this kind of property, allowing your company to plan for these shifts and make staffing changes or other changes that will allow you to effortlessly adapt to the new demand trend.
Understand website behavior predicts business success. Collecting information about what people do on your website (e.g. what features they use, how long they spend on the site) can give you data you can correlate to your business outcomes. Once you’ve analyzed how behavior correlates to business outcomes, you can understand what kinds of leads on your website are the ones you should pay the most attention to (because they’re the ones you’re most likely to successfully do business with). This will also suggest to you ways in which you can tailor your website to attract more of the leads that correlate with your desired business outcomes.
Don’t sweat the creative details. One thing you shouldn’t worry about is examining whether people respond better to red or pink text, or whether a new flashing icon is driving business up. You should adjust creative details based on information only: for example, if you learn that customers have specific interests, you should certainly tailor your website to cater to those interests. But it doesn’t pay to stress over small details that won’t affect your appeal to customers (or lack thereof) in a major way.
The major takeaway: The kind of data you should care about should be the data that drives you to ask questions about your business, to uncover answers to those questions, and finally, to adapt your business in a way that lets you better cater to the segment of the market that your product appeals to. . Some of the more tried and tested solutions for data collection are web analytics packages, such as Google Analytics for web-based tracking, and a property management software solution to follow trends and points of interest within your managed community.
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