Big data services provide businesses with an opportunity to gain insights that help them make better decisions and improve operations and overall performance.
In the recent past, the term big data has become more common in almost every industry. This refers to the huge amounts of different types of structured and unstructured data from a wide range of sources.
Today, organizations have access to a wide range of data from different sources and customer touch points.
These sources include websites, web applications, mobile devices, office applications, mobile apps, social medal channels, machines, smart equipment, IoT, and more.
The resulting big data offers many opportunities for businesses and professionals who have the right tools to collect and extract the valuable information.
It helps the businesses to understand a wide range of metrics that eventually helps in improving the overall performance and ROI.
Generally, a lot of work goes into making a website successful. Unlike a few years back when visitors were more attracted by a website design in terms of visual appeal, today’s users and customers are looking for the functionalities, speed, and ease of use and other issues.
A good design is usually based on the audience, preferences and a wide range of factors. It should be compatible with all the types of devices while taking into consideration the location of potential customers, type of information they are looking for, etc.
Most often, this information is hidden in the big data. So, unless one has the ability to analyze it and get actionable results, it may be difficult to put it into action.
However, by taking advantage of the big data, designers are able to develop data-driven websites, hence the potential to increase traffic, provide better user experience and engagement.
By extracting facts and other useful information, it is possible to measure success, see what requires improvement and what is working well.
Generally, data-driven insights enable the designer to come up with a better strategy. Below are some of the ways designers can use big data to make better websites.
Businesses that analyze their data are able to get useful insights about their operations, market, audience and more.
How well the big data impacts on the website design processes depends on the analysis and whether the developer takes action based on the valuable information they extract.
In e-commerce website, the big data analysis should show where potential customers are coming from, what they are purchasing, and what is causing some of them to stop in the middle of transactions or abandon the cart.
If people are abandoning the cart before they make a payment, the designer can try to check if there is an issue with the processes.
Most visitors will leave a website within a few seconds due to slow speed, poor user interface or experience, difficulties navigating certain pages and other design issues.
With the right data or metrics, it becomes easier to identify the problem areas, hence provide the designer with an opportunity to rectify, modify or use a different approach.
The website layout, organization and how it presents the data and other information influences the amount of traffic and engagement.
Website metrics provides a lot of information about how users are navigating the website and the engagement based on devices, location, and other parameters.
Depending on the configuration and features, a website owner is able to tell the region from where visitors are coming from and how they are finding particular information.
Other information from big data includes visits from search engines, social media or adverts, devices visitors use to access the website, how long they stay on the site, pages they access, etc.
In addition, the analysis establishes if there are problems navigating some pages, especially if most people seem to exit from there.
With this information, the designer is in a better position to optimize the website to work with all popular devices on the desktop and mobile platforms, operating systems, locations, and other variables.
Designers can also use big data to see how much the search engines are bringing to the site. In addition, adding an inbuilt search bot allows the designer to see what visitors are searching for, and whether they are able to find it on the site.
A traffic analysis establishes the performance of individual pages in terms of getting traffic.
This will show the website pages and elements that are most engaging and those that are not performing well.
The traffic analysis tools can even compare traffic in competitor’s websites, and allow a designer to see what is attracting people to the other websites.
Other than the amount of traffic, the analysis helps a designer to understand the unique visitors, overall visits, the page views, bounce rate, the average time a visitor spends on the website and many other metrics.
By analyzing the performance, the designer will establish areas that require more investments and those where a reduction is necessary.
For example, in an e-commerce site or a company that sells products online, multiple advertising models may be in place.
Analyzing the conversions and other information will help determine which method is working and what doesn’t.
If for example, some ad platforms are not delivering, an organization can reduce the amount of money on them and increase on those that are helping to sell more products.
This reduces the cost of doing business while allowing the company to concentrate on what is working.
Similarly, an organization may have different servers spread across the continents to better serve the customers from closer distances.
If some of these are not performing, it may not be necessary to continue spending money on them while these delivering could do better by injecting the money there.
Generally, the big data does not provide a straight forward solution, but rather allows organizations or individuals to extract valuable information.
Website designers can use this information to understand their market and audience hence improve the website, boost traffic and engagement.
However, it may require testing different approaches and reviewing the impact until you get it right.
The information from big data thus, gives the designers an opportunity to try out different strategies and compare results.
In addition, what works today may not be effective tomorrow, hence the need to collect and analyze performance metrics and other information that show what is happening almost in real-time and then adjust to meet users’ needs.
The website must comply with a wide range of local and international regulations. In particular, there is a need to respect people’s privacy.
Some countries such as those in the EU region have strict regulations on how to collect and handle private information from individuals.
If designing a website that targets customers or visitors in this region, it must comply with the GDPR.
Similarly, the designer must ensure that users’ data, such as medical, financial and others, regardless of the region, is secure and used according to the governing regulations.
When a website is based in a different region, metrics from the big data will show if there are visitors or customers from the EU. This enables the designer to make the necessary changes to ensure GDPR compliance.
Other than website design, data should be one of the major components that drive business decisions in almost any industry.
Analyzing the website metrics will show if the design is meeting the owner’s objectives, see how users are interacting with the website and if there are areas for improvement.
Just like the ability to develop a data-driven website design, any other business can use the same approach to plan for their operations.
Organizations can now rely on measurable metrics and adjust themselves to improve productivity and efficiency while lowering costs.
For example, in the medical industry, the big data comprising of a patient’s medical history, residential, age, family and other information helps in determining the best care and course of treatment.
Big data enables the designers to develop websites that are more engaging and effective in delivering useful information to the users.
As more and more businesses continue to rely on the internet to promote their services and products, big data can help their manager to make better decisions. However, they require the right tools and skills to analyze and understand the data.
By Uma Raj
By Uma Raj
By Abishek Balakumar