Let the stats do the walking

At the weekend my family participated as a team called “Ray On” in the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Our connection to this particular charity event stems from losing my father seven years ago to cancer – which has motivated my ever active 73 year old mother to become chief organiser of a wide team of walkers to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Anyway, the weekend was a great success. Wellington’s dependable weather turned on a superb 24 hours and my wife, kids, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces (and a number of generous family friends) all turned out and did a superb job of walking their way around 205 laps towards our fundraising target.

But what really amazed me (apart from the nice weather) was the enthusiasm of loads of teenagers with HIBS and WEGC on their tee-shirts, who fair sprinted around the course for some 600+ laps.

At 11pm on Saturday night as I did my shift, I felt totally knackered. But their effort never seemed to flag. Aside from youth (and the money they were raising), what kept them all moving at top pace right through the night?

I’d say statistics. Who got the fastest round? Who did the most laps? Did we do better than last year’s team? Standards have been set – how do you beat them? That’s the challenge.

Now it may be a stretch of parallels, but with websites and online advertising it’s similar.

Statistical comparisons are an amazing driver towards getting the best out of what you’re doing. Are we improving? How did that compare with last week, with last month? What worked? What didn’t?

If you have a website, the first thing you should do is set up some site traffic monitoring. Google Analytics is the easiest option and I tell you, the moment you start understanding your site’s performance you’ll begin to appreciate the infectious interest statistical benchmarks create.

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