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Analysis Exchange Helps Optimize Websites (For Free)

wad_logo_whiteIf your nonprofit has a web page (and it definitely should), how do you know if it's effective? Can you tell how many visitors it receives, how long they spend on the site, what they're clicking, or even how they found you? The answer is "yes." Probably the most important question to ask, however, is what all this data can do for you.

"Web analytics" is the term used to describe the collection and analysis of this very information. Unfortunately, many nonprofit professionals don't have the knowledge or expertise to do these things on their own. Some may be using Google Analytics, a service that collects the data for free, but it's not uncommon for the results to do little more than satisfy curiosity about how many times a page is viewed in a given week. With tight budgets, the idea of paying someone to do this kind of work generally is never even raised.

A group called The Analysis Exchange is working to change that so that the data collected can actually be useful in strategic planning. In real-world nonprofit terms, that means attracting more visitors to your site, getting them to make donations, and encouraging them to become engaged with your mission.

The Analysis Exchange offers free web analytics services to nonprofits, small businesses, and non-governmental organizations around the world. Their goal is not just to be "good Samaritans," but also to train up-and-coming web analytics professionals how to do things the right way. They do this by connecting students, mentors, and organizations in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The students work directly under the guidance of the mentors to provide each organization with a detailed analysis of its web site's performance, including advice on how to optimize web efforts based on what they've found. The process takes less than three hours of the nonprofit professional's time, according to their "benefits for nonprofits" page, and results are available within three weeks.

This three hours includes creating an account, posting a project, an hour-long discussion with the mentor, and a follow-up meeting where the student presents the findings. The students benefit by getting real-world experience to learn from and to include in their portfolios.

If your organization is interested in submitting a project to The Analysis Exchange, you can get more information from the Web Analytics Demystified site.

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