Free data tools – 3 ways to get started

Venngage templates

Anyone with a website will have wondered at some point:

  • How much traffic do I get?
  • Where do my visitors come from?
  • What do they think of my site?

and possibly even…

  • What should I blog about?

There are loads of tools for collecting, analysing and displaying data and it’s perhaps difficult to know where to start.

If you’re a small business with loads of other priorities you don’t want to be worrying about a website that doesn’t deliver, but nor can you afford to spend a fortune on market research.

So what tools are available to help you understand and communicate the effectiveness of your online marketing?

1. Collecting data

Live chatThe first place to start might be with your own visitors.

Find out more about your customers habits and interests by creating a poll or survey on the site. Survey monkey offers a simple free starter pack, or if you have a WordPress site there are plugins like Awesome Surveys which you can use to create a survey on your site.

Not everyone wants to take part in a long survey, but one thing you can do is to create a pop up poll which you can add to your site with a simple, short question. Something like ‘Did you find what you wanted today?’  might get some insights into the information your visitors were expecting to see on the site. However, beware detracting from the overall site experience by interrupting users at a key stage in their journey through the site.

An alternative might be to offer a live chat facility which some users seem to like more than sending an email. It is instant and, if you have the customer service staff to support it, can be a way of engaging with potential customers on a personal level.

2. Analysing data

Google analytics dashboardMany sites may have already registered with Google Analytics. If you haven’t it is quick and easy, and they provide loads of training and videos on how to make the most of the information offered. Track visitor numbers, location, channel source, bounce rate, time on page and conversion goals to name just a few. There seems to be no limit to the data available.

Some of the newer features include monitoring what visitors are searching for on your site, how long your site takes to load, and how often users interact with the site for instance to watch a video, or download a brochure.

If you have an ecommerce site you can monetise the business coming from different social channels, helping you to understand where to target your marketing efforts.

Social sharing is a key criteria for google search success, and your analytics data can tell you which articles are being shared and how often.

3. Visualising data

Venngage template ideasData visualisation seems to have become the latest buzzword but what does it mean? In the old days we used to just call it a bar chart, but now many more options are available. Visualisation is not just a way of making a pretty image out of numbers, but is designed to help you infer insight from your data. Our brains find it easy to interpret a visual image than a column of figures (well, most people’s do) so a chart is a good way of understanding what the data is telling us. Line and bar charts remain some of the most accurate and well tuned tools for doing this, but newer alternatives like bubble charts, word clouds and tree graphs may be suitable depending on what you are trying to demonstrate, and give your work a contemporary look.

Tools like Venngage are great for helping you create your own infographics. Read 10 free tools for creating infographics for more ideas.

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