Why I Don't Care Much About DATA...
Today I am going to give you some insight as to how I personally approach DATA...and how I think people overuse meaningless data to the point of paralysis.
I am sure you have all heard the cliche, "paralysis by analysis". This means that overanalyzing something can lead to “inaction”...which can be detrimental to your success. Yes, looking at too much data too often can kill your success!
I want to first explain what my personal take is on data then I am going to explain how I use it in a way that is advantageous versus being intrusive to productivity.
OK...let’s rock and roll...
Over the years I have been one to shy away from too much data. I didn’t buy keyword tools (I am a strong proponent of Jaaxy.com now), I was a late adopter of analytics and other traffic analysis tools,but without all of this data at my fingertips, I was still able to achieve success! But how?
Because I focused on things that built my business.
- creating content
- building web pages
- building sites
- research keywords and niches
- understanding my audiences
Traffic behavior is secondary, but first you need traffic before you can start to analyze it. You are not going to be able to determine much by looking at 10, 50 or even 100 clicks to your site.
The ACTION was my focus. Whether this is a lead or a sale, this was my initial focus when it came to understand metrics. If I got a 10% conversion rate, I was happy....if I got 25% of people to sign-up to my list I was happy. If I got a 1st page ranking in Google, I was happy.
"I rarely look at metrics unless I have loads of traffic where I can refine a campaign."
Data is killing businesses and preventing people from creating success...one person at a time.
An obvious example of this is "rankings in Google".
I see every day people reporting that their article or their content has moved from page 10 to page 30 or has increased 2 pages in rankings. Page 1 or 2 and that is it. Who cares if it is on page 4 or page 100. It is meaningless after the first 2 pages and if you are sifting through data after that point you might as well be on Facebook posting a picture of your latest meal.
Another thing I see a lot of is "watching" over "building". TV's are for watching, not campaigns.
Looking at data as watching. It is like playing a sport but sitting on the sidelines...you simply don't get it if you are not on the field catching the balls or stepping up to the plate. I want to be the person out there trying to hit a homerun...not the person up in the box recording the stats and trying to make sense of them, in particular when using meaningless data.
So what is the important data then?
It is simple. Data that validates what you are doing. Data that implies what you are doing has worked. Trying to get a ranking in Google, check to see if you got a ranking on the 1st page. Don’t see it, then continue on OR try something to help get it ranked. Then check it works.
It is easier to write 10 pages of quality content that is "not quite" perfect and get several of them ranked than it is to try to perfect one page.
Another thing that you may find hard to believe is that I DO NOT look at competition. They are likely doing something wrong. Something careless and chances are they may be on their way outs of the search engines. Just because a page is ranked #1 right now, doesn’t mean that Google isn’t lining them up in the cross heirs waiting to SNIPE them with the next panda or penguin update.
People get lost in how many backlinks, how many words, what density, what images...they are data mongers. It is what is taught out there by many I suppose, but I can tell you through experience that the more data you are looking at, the more you are trying to copy what you see working, the worse for wear you will be from any Google Panda or Penguin. The people you think are doing brilliant things to get rankings, may in fact be gaming Google in a way that is going to get slapped right out of the rankings.
Focus on your content...focus on your readers...and focus on building your own business, not emulate someone else's.
When I look at data?
I start to carefully consider data when I have enough traffic to make it worthwhile. I don't make assumptions on data though, I will test something new and compare it to the data to see if it improves my campaign or makes it worse.
What you test could be a number of things, to the anchor links you are using, to headlines, to images, to ad copy, to different types of copywriting, to offering your email address within the page (which can increase conversions BTW!).
Once I have enough data, it is a matter of refining that campaign to make it perform better. The worse thing you can do is to try to refine and improve upon a campaign before you have this data because you are making "assumptions" which may not always be correct.
What is my biggest concern?
EARNINGS. If your campaign is not earning any revenue and you have traffic, then you need to look into data and see what is going on. If it is earning some money, but not the best, it may be time to optimize your campaign (look at traffic, top click-throughs).
People are strange and their behaviours online are often times not all that predictable. Without comparative data it is tough to make assumptions and you simply shouldn’t. Run tests when you have data and work to improve your "conversions" that lead to revenue.
Your initial focus. BUILD.
Your secondary focus. TEST.
Your last focus. REFINE.
If you take this approach you will save yourself a ton of time looking through data which won't benefit you...time in which you can dedicate to building your campaigns up to a point where you will have enough data to truly benefit from. :)