Friday, March 30, 2012

Understanding Web Analytics for Your Resume Website

With more and more clients finding their resume writers through web searches, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and website traffic strategies are becoming more important for resume writers to understand how to drive visitors to your resume website.

One way you can objectively tell if your website traffic generating strategies are working is to look at your web analytics. You can use the analytics built into your website hosting program, or you can use a free tool like Google Analytics. Here's the first page of an actual Google Analytics report:

Website analytics can tell you a lot. For a resume writer, understanding web analytics is a crucial skill. Your analytics can tell you whether people understand what you're offering, whether people like your brand, and whether or not your website is doing everything it can to bring you new clients.

Here are some of the important numbers every resume writer should be watching in their web analytics.

How Many Visitors Are You Getting?
The first -- and most important -- number you should be watching is how many visitors you're getting. In addition to the raw number, also pay attention to whether the visitor count is going up or down. (You can check this weekly or monthly, but quarterly trends will give you a "bigger picture" analysis.)

As your marketing efforts progress, you should see a direct boost to your visitor count. It might not happen right away, but within a couple months, you should see a measurable increase.

How Many Hit a Goal?
Your resume website should have a very clear goal. For most resume writers, that goal should be to get a website visitor to either inquire about -- or purchase -- your resume services. (How many visitors do you convert into inquiries and/or sales?)

You can actually use Google Analytic's "Goals" feature to track your progress towards your stated "goal." You can measure progress in terms of folks who fill out an inquiry/contact form, sign up for your email list, download a special report on a careers-related topic, or make a deposit or sale.

Whatever the case, you should be carefully tracking the goal hit rate for your website.

Learn more about the "Goals" feature in Google Analytics.

Geographic Location
Are the people who're landing on your website the right kinds of people? If you have a small local business, check to make sure the traffic you're getting is actually from your area. Many resume writers nowadays work "virtually," so location isn't as important as it used to be.

Where Does the Traffic Come From?
How do people end up on your website? Do they type something into the search engines and end up on your site? Or do they enter your URL manually? Is someone else sending people to your website? (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be huge "referrers" to your website.)

Tracking your traffic sources and your referrer data can give you valuable information about what's working and what's not working when it comes to generating traffic.

Bounce Rate
This is an analytic that is often misunderstood. The bounce rate measures the percentage of people who land on your website and leave without visiting a second page on your website. (They only visit one page -- maybe your home page, or a landing page -- and then they leave the site.)

A high bounce rate usually means that visitors came to your site expecting one thing but didn't find what they were looking for. If your bounce rate is above 60%, you might have some serious revamping to do.

Are People Coming Back?
Finally, check to see whether or not people who visit your website come back again. (Look at the "New Visits" analytic.)

For some businesses, this is an irrelevant statistic. For example, a restaurant's website doesn't really expect to get repeat visitors. People just use the website to find the address or phone number so they can show up. But for resume writers, you want people to keep coming back to your site -- especially if you have a blog.

Most people who are looking for a resume writer aren't ready to "buy" when they start their search. This is particularly true for prospects who are spending $400 or more on a resume. (Under $250, resumes are almost an "impulse buy" and you may be able to get them to purchase right away.)

Over $400, the goal is to get them to your site, give them some valuable information, and then -- most important! -- get them to opt-in to your mailing list, can move them along the process to making a direct inquiry about your services.

These are some of the many things that your analytics system can tell you. Learning to understand analytics can really help you steer your resume writing business in the right direction.


  1. I just stumbled across your site and wish I had found it years ago. I have been toying with resume writing for a few years but am now trying to seriously build this micro business into something substantial.

    I was wondering- you mention the importance of building an email list as many people are not impulse buyers. Is there a goal for what would constitute a good sized mailing list? Also, my price point in usually between $200-$300- am I underselling myself?

    Again, love this site, any advice would be truly appreciated.

  2. Hi, Steve!

    Congrats on entering the industry! You'll find we're a cooperative, collegial group!

    To answer your questions:

    You can have a successful resume business without a mailing list at all (unfortunately, many resume writers do this!) but it's a harder battle, because as your business grows, you're relying on clients remembering you instead of putting yourself in front of them regularly.

    But building a mailing list of prospects -- and then adding in clients as they work with you -- will help you become more successful. As a new resume writer, you should start with a list as large as you can assemble from friends/family/colleagues/volunteer projects you've done in the past (I recommend using a list-building service like AWeber -- (Don't add them to the autoresponder directly -- instead, send them an email inviting them to join your list. Tell them the value they'll get from connecting -- inside resources into the job search, ebooks/special reports, etc.)

    Second: I can't advise you on the prices YOU need to charge to make this business work for YOU, but I can tell you that your price point of $200-$300 is a good starting point (too many new writers make the mistake of charging too little -- like <$100). A lot depends on your specific market you're targeting (including geographic area, if you work with local clients).

    As you gain additional certifications, training, or expertise, you can always raise your prices. You also have the flexibility to lower your prices in certain occasions in order to secure certain clients you may want to work with.

    I'd encourage you to sign up for at least a Free Level membership on, or consider upgrading to a $10/month Bronze membership -- which will give you access to all the back issues of Resume Writers' Digest, including dozens of articles about pricing, marketing, client management, etc.