Start a Website Master Log

    January 22, 2007

One of the simplest things a webmaster, who is running a web metrics package to track site statistics, can do to boost micro-conversions (clicked links, clicked ads, etc.) and macro-conversions (sales) is to start a master log of changes.

I just implemented this technique recently, after realizing what dummy I had been over the last couple years for not having one.

I had been changing things and running tests to see which versions of pages were converting better. When I would go back and look at metrics as soon as a few weeks back, I couldn’t remember what changes I had made to the site that could have been responsible for any kind of numbers spike. I’m constantly checking my metrics, and comparing 2 date ranges, but I would never know why the specific conversion rate I was looking at would be lower or higher for 2-3 day stretches. Now I keep a spreadsheet log of the change that was made, expected result, actual result (which I fill in after I have enough data), who made the change, and the date it was started and stopped (if it was stopped at all). When looking back at my metrics I can link any conversion or other KPI (key performance indicator) movement to a specific change.

More importantly, I can also do a reverse look up on my log sheet. I can see what changes I have already tested and what the results were. So If I already tried a pink background color, and my page bounce rate skyrocketed, then I know not to make this mistake again. Before I implemented my master log, I would have to do a lot of repeat testing for lack of recalling what I had already tried, or what the results of the test were.

The master log is a way of knowing, historically, what works and what doesn’t on your site. Implementing a master log can save you time, money, and frustration by giving you hard data to look at over a defined period.


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Brian Thibault is an internet marketing guru specializing in E-commerce, SEO, and usability. He is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and enjoys his work, ice hockey, and exercise. Brian’s blog can be found at