Joe Merrill

Joe Merrill

Web Analytics and Marketing Consultant


The word ‘analysis’ can be scary for many.  For others, it represents opportunity.

The word comes from the Greek, and means ‘to break up’ ‘to loosen’ or again, ‘to divide into the parts that make it.’  Analysis is the opposite of synthesis.  Synthesis brings things that are separate together, analysis breaks things that are together into the several parts from which they came.

Get a paper and a pencil, or open up a document on your computer, and make a list with me.  We are going to break up (analyze) all of the many parts that go into your website/social media presence.  You’ll need 3 columns: Audience, Source, and Content.  Start in the audience column and write out all the different sub groups that visit your site.

Which distinct groups visit your site?  Do people in their 20’s get different type of content from your site then people in their 50’s?  What about gender?  Do people in Boston get something out of it that is different than people in South Dakota?  What  background do each of these audiences have?  Are they educated?  what is their income level?  Separate out into 5 or 6 really distinct groups that visit your site.

In the next column over, write out where each audience comes from.  What percent comes from Facebook vs direct traffic?  Do they find you after a long search, or do they have your domain on ‘speed dial’ as it were?  Do they visit your site because of an email you send?  Does a certain group visit your site because of really strong backlinks somewhere that drive that type of traffic?  Each distinct group in column 1 should have as thorough as possible a description of where they come from (and your guess as to why.)

In the last column, write out what types of content on your site each distinct group visits.   Write out the particular pages you think each group visits, down to the blog post.  So, your sheet of paper or document should look something like this.

30 year old women from Boston use facebook to access articles about purple elephants.

20 year old men from London respond to a targeted email campaign to read about raising virtual elephants

50 year old women from Tuscan search on Google for elephants and shade and find articles about setting up purple elephant shade screens.


Ok.  so we’ve just broken down your blog into audience, source, and content.  We’ve seen several different categories of users – each of whom views the site for different reasons, but benefits nonetheless from the content.

Here is the piece that is truly mind blowing.  When people use a website, they bring with them all of this content.  They identify themselves as being in one of these groups just by simply browsing your site!

There are a number of different tools out there to use.  Google Analytics tells you exactly this information – and breaks it down even further.  You can compare your list of guesses to Google’s actual results of the real humans that visited your site.

This is an incredible opportunity because it takes the guess work out of content production, and content distribution.  You don’t have to wonder if they would be interested, you can know with certainty.  Analysis is an opportunity.

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