Hugoware

The product of a web developer with a little too much caffeine

Get Visitor Feedback – Without Asking For Their Help

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Do you track what visitors look at when they get to your site? Do you check things like the search phrase they used to get to your site? Do you track what gets downloaded the most? E-Mail comments sent directly to the administrator?

Most people I’ve ever met feel that feedback, like comments or e-mails, are the best/only way to gauge how your customer feels. They feel that unless you’re reading actual typed words from the customer, then you don’t know what they are looking for.

This last month, since jLinq and this blog came online, I’ve had about 620,000 hits. Want to take a guess how many e-mails with feedback I’ve gotten? 100? 200? 1000?

How about, 2…

Yep, just two e-mails with feedback. A little surprising since I know I’m not that good (if any good :)) at programming. Surely some people are at least a little confused on how jLinq works (or anything I’ve posted so far). I would have figured questions, suggestions and requests would come pouring in.

Feedback, Stealth Style

Despite the lack of “verbal” feedback, I’ve still managed to get interesting feedback from my site statistics, for example the pages that are viewed the most, the number of downloads for different versions and referrers to my site.

A good example of learning more about your website from site statistics alone is my own blog!

WordPress has quite a few awesome tracking features that tells you about your most viewed post, referrers to your site, search terms that led to your site and more. These stats tell you a lot of information about how people are finding your site. That’s really valuable information when you’re trying to figure out the best way to present your site when someone arrives.

On this blog I get my most traffic from a post that I did about changing HTML into a PDF. Definitely not my area of expertise, but a very hot topic for my blog. Knowing this it gives me incentive to work more on that project and make it better.

Another valuable piece of information has been seeing the search terms that help people make their way to this site. A great example of this was when I noticed people were getting to my site with the search terms of an exception that was found in jLinq. I realized that I didn’t have any documentation about the exceptions I had written and so the closest thing to help my visitors could find was this blog.

Are You Using Statistics?

It’s interesting that despite the ease that we can communicate over the web, feedback is still uncommon. CodingHorror.com I thought was always a great example of this. Anytime Jeff posts a blog entry he gets roughly 50 to 100 comments, and hot button issues around 300. That’s some really great numbers for feedback until you consider that he also has about 125K subscribed readers and who knows how many more that don’t use Feedburner (for example – myself).

My guess is that even on interesting topics, we’re in just too much of a hurry even to write a small comment. Maybe it’s that a large amount of feedback goes without a response. It could be that we’re constantly bombarded by websites telling us “your opinion matters” or “tell us what you think” that we just don’t even really care anymore unless it’s something we’re really passionate about.

But there is a great deal of knowledge to be harvested all without a single form. So, how are you using your website statistics?

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Written by hugoware

June 1, 2009 at 1:51 am

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