Archive for March, 2009

Are you losing money? Do you even know?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

With the current economic conditions and schools all over the country cutting budgets, cutting jobs, raising tuition, we’re all a little on edge and wondering how we can squeeze more out of less.

We’re still being tasked with finding ways to create better experiences for our users only now we have to do it on a tighter budget and with less people.

The problem is that there are many things to get done, but we’re not sure how to prioritize. Should we overhaul? Should we wait until next year? How do we know?

Enter web analytics.

For those of you who are not on the analytics band-wagon. It’s time to jump on. I’m not talking about just tagging your pages and walking away. Now you have Google Analytics installed on your website. Whoopee. Who cares.

Internal Email Usability – Stop the Madness

Monday, March 9th, 2009

We’ve all read numerous great posts about effective email marketing. Keep it short, Use obvious calls-to-action.

What about writing effective internal emails, though?

I know, I know. It’s not as important as our external emails and so, it takes a backseat. Understood. I have to tell you, though, we all need to have a refresher course in effective internal email writing.

A Unique Visitor is NOT a Person

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

A few weeks ago, Brian Clifton wrote a great blog post about how measuring unique visitors is meanlingless.

I wholeheartedly agree. Especially in higher education, the recipient of an analytics report rarely knows what the term *unique *really means in this context or the problems with measuring unique visitors.

“Unique visitors” is misleading. Why? According to Brian’s post:

Firstly, cookies get lost, blocked and deleted. Research has shown that after a period of four weeks, nearly one third of tracking cookies are missing, which means the visitor will be incorrectly considered a new unique visitor should they return to the same website.

The longer the time period, the greater the chance of this happening, which makes comparing year-on-year data invalid for example. In addition, browsers make it very easy these days for cookies to be removed – see the new ‘incognito’ features of the latest Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers.

However, the biggest issue for counting uniques faced by both on and off-site web analytics tools is how many devices people use to access the web.

The problem I see with unique visitors is the name. Most (and by most I mean the recipients of your report!) *assume* unique visitor means a person. Unique implies … well … that it’s just that … unique – one – a person.