Web Data Mining – What You Need To Know
You have a website and the traffic landing on the pages is growing each day. So, now what do you do? Well, the answer is to collect the data and use it to enhance the user experience. This is called web data mining. By mining the correct nuggets of information, you can provide the customer, reader and passerby with everything they want. Hence, you are giving yourself a competitive edge
Of course, it isn’t as easy as grabbing the nearest pick and hacking at a stone. To mine big data effectively, you will need to be organised and efficient. After all, there’s more information online than there are people right now.
How do I mine my data?
You have two options, you can pay the many companies out there who will take your information and requirements and they can come back with the data analysis to help you make changes to capture more customers at the right time. Or you could do it yourself. I am assuming that you have Google analytics and Webmaster tools installed on your website. If you haven’t then go read my post on how to do this.
Google analytics will give you all the basic information you need to mine data to help you to market yourself more effectively. You can find out the location of your visitors, their age range, the devices they use, when they are using your site and how they are using your site. This is only a few of the things you can find out but go use all of the metrics available to you.
Once you have the information then you need to analyse it and this is where you will need your organisational skills. Making a spreadsheet of your information and the variables you discover is definitely required and you need to analyse that information. For example, you may discover that the majority of your readers are from the U.K and are mostly Male and between the ages of 25 to 45. So you may decide to use English U.K language. We use an S where you use a Z in many words. You may want to post at the best possible time for when they are online, especially if you have an RSS feed set up.
Obviously this is all very basic and you will discover so many more things whether you do it yourself or pay for a data mining service. Whichever you choose it can be either a costly and or time consuming exercise and there are dangers lurking with the exercise. Remember what you learn this month or year, may change next month or year. Web data mining should never be a one off exercise.
Here’s how to avoid digging yourself into a hole when mining your data.
Don’t Worship It
As with all new trends, people tend to overstate its importance. Yes, there are answers with data mining that you can’t find anywhere else, yet big data isn’t the miracle aligner of the perfect business, you dream of in your sleep. And, it is essential you do not treat it as such. Why? It is because it will cause you to lose focus on other, key areas of your business if you are not careful. Paralysis of analysis is a real thing and something you want to avoid.
Remember that information is a form of currency, but it isn’t the kind that will keep the servers up and the doors of your business open. Try to merge the two so that one impacts the other. Try to think of it as a self-sustaining business model.
Avoid Getting Greedy
Another reason not to worship your data is the threat of addiction. There are many traps in the industry, but this is the newest and most powerful. All you have to do is look at the number of multibillion-dollar corporations getting into trouble over data mining. The problem Google and Facebook and Uber has is that they cannot stop – they smell blood and have to eat. Constantly using the data in sometimes illegal ways. Sadly, your small company won’t get the same treatment if it oversteps the data line. One mistake may destroy everything you have built. To make sure you don’t break the law, only collect the information which is important and fair game. Know the rules before using mining data.
Web scraping is when you take the information from the site and put it into a separate document. Various Microsoft Excel courses teach this, as do some other free online tools. Anyone who needs help can always use Prompt Cloud’s services. The volume of data which your site collects is mind-boggling, so it can be hard to spot patterns. Scraping it and creating an Excel spreadsheet helps you to locate the things which are important. Plus, it acts a security measure too in case a hacker tries to delete information from the servers.
Create A Culture
Saying you’re going to build a business model based on data is commendable, but it is very tricky to implement. The reason is that some people in your business may not get on board including yourself. Would you actually trust everything you read which was scraped and pulled from the various sources, collected from your website. Scepticism is inevitable, which is why the atmosphere you create in your business if you have employees is important. You need people who believe in analytics and the power of big data, which may mean employing a graduate with a mathematical degree. Training either for yourself and others also helps.
Even though you may be a beginner, do you think data mining is easier and a little clearer now than before?
Remember that when you embark on web data mining whether you are Company with employees or a solopreneur it is a big undertaking and you do need to learn new skills. It will make you question how you currently operate and lead you to make some big changes. However, it is definitely worth the effort because those that do web data mining well, will generally end up with a bigger and better business.
I hope you have found this post useful. If you have please give it a share on your favourite social media platform.
As ever if you have any questions or want to share your own thoughts please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
With Grace and Gratitude