Data is useless without goals. Seeing the number of registrations, number of orders, visitors to your site, whatever, is all really meaningless. Just knowing your number of registrations wont help you. Who cares if you get 1000 registrations a day, what now? Twiddle your thumbs and hope it increases? Looking at a hundred metrics each day is worse than looking at none.

Most people assign goals subconsciously. They have no idea why they want to see the number of registrations, it’ll just help, somehow. What’s really happening is they think, subconsciously, they’re doing something to increase the metric and they want to see if it’s working or not. They’re taking the easy route of asking for data without really thinking why.

Goals should come first, then data. Consciously say, I am going to increase registrations within 30 days, then track it. Switching around this thinking will have huge benefits. Every project will be quantifiable. Data will have meaning. Systems like Google Analytics will become useful, instead of overwhelming.

Data without goals will never show you what you should do next. You get 1000 registrations per day and 10,000 visitors per day, which one do you work on? Data is only useful if you’ve acted on it and can repeat your previous results. And the only way to see these results is to start with a goal. This also means, if you’ve never tracked your actions, you will have no idea what to do first. No matter how much you justify your actions, it’s still just a guess until you see the results of your actions.

It’s fun to look at data, everybody will do it. But don’t ever make decisions on it unless you’ve created your goal first.