Many ministries already have a presence on the Internet and others are considering it. To be effective in this presence, it is important to implement best practices in web-based technologies to present the message, attract readers and engage them in conversations and relationships rooted in the gospel. There are several free analytic tools that can help to measure a website’s effectiveness in terms of reach and influence. I discuss two in this post.
Google Analytics is probably the best known analytic tool. It is free and many website templates come with it built in—but if your site does not come Google Analytics ready, it is simply a matter of registering with Google and setting up the tool. I check Google Analytics to see how many visitors each post receives. Some articles receive more visitors than others. I check to see if there is a common thread in the most visited and try to incorporate that in future posts. I also check to see where visitors come from. Most come from my email message link, but a percentage comes from social media links. This tells me that it is worth posting links to blog posts on Facebook and Twitter because some visitors come from both.
Another free tool I recently found is www.websitegrader.com which is from HubSpot (also the owner of Twitter Grader and Blog Grader). The tool does what you would expect—grades your site based on all of the sites they have graded (3.8 million) to date. The report also includes recommendations on how to improve Search Engine Optimization—so that your website is more easily found through the various search engines. The evaluation is based on content, use of images, interior pages, domain information, links, mobile optimization, promotion by others and social media connections. The report provides recommendations on how to improve in these areas when that is warranted. I use the suggestions that work for me. FYI my “grade” is
If we have a mission that we are trying to carry out or support on the Internet, then we can benefit from the data that these tools provide. Are we reaching the audience we want to reach? Where are our visitors coming from? What are they looking for? How well are we using the platforms that we have chosen? Knowing the answers to these questions can help us make choices that will make us more effective in our efforts, increase traffic to our site and hopefully expand our sphere of influence.
What analytic tools have you found that are helpful?