Day 29: Introduction to Web Analytics

Now that your website is up and ready for business, wouldn’t you want to keep track of those who are visiting your site?  Wouldn’t you want to know how they use your website, how much time they spend there before clicking away to another site?  Don’t you want to know where they are coming from?

Your business website is the first point of contact between you and your prospective customers.  So it’s very important that you adjust your website site design and promotion strategies to make it relevant for your users.  In order to do this, you need to know what is happening on your website.

According to Wikipedia:

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.  Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a web site.

The key information you get from a web analytics software includes:

  • Unique visitors (daily/monthly/weekly)
  • Most and least visited pages
  • Pages viewed per visit
  • Length of visit
  • Traffic sources
  • Top user entry and exit pages
  • User demographic factors – language and location
  • Error reports seen when users access the site
  • Some tools even give details about conversions (sales, sign ups, goals you’ve set – like number of page visits, etc.)

Gaining a better understanding of the activities that site users engage in is crucial for making your business website effective.  And unless your website is effective, you will not be able to meet the purpose for which you established it.  The ultimate goal of web analytics is to collect information and insight that affects the performance of your site.

Why Online Entrepreneurs Need Web Analytics – 6 Reasons

1. Online marketing is the only marketing strategy that is trackable.  One cannot track television/radio ads or other offline advertisements.  There is no way to know how many people are actually being reached and how they respond to these marketing campaigns.  But when it comes to internet marketing, virtually everything is trackable.

2. You get to know the actual data.  Web analysis reports give you the number of people visiting your website, URLs of where they are coming from, the time they spend on your website, etc.

3. It tells you which pages are most popular on your website.  The reports will show you which content is viewed more, and which pages have a high exit/bounce rate (where people usually click away from your site).

4. It gives a clear picture of user behavior on your website.  You get to know the time users spent on your website, which internal links got more clicks, how many times a video was viewed or a file was downloaded, etc.

5. You find out which online marketing campaigns are more effective.  If you are running a variety of sales campaigns, analytics will help you figure out which was the most effective campaign.  Based on these results you can craft a more effective campaign the next time around.

6. Gives you insight on how to optimize your website.  Based on data tracked, such as time spent and bounce rate, you can craft better content in the future.  By identifying entry keywords from Google Analytics, you can make your website more search engine friendly.

Web Analytics

When it comes to web analytics, you have a lot of choices – from free to paid, from simple hit counters to highly advanced web traffic analytic tools…  you can choose a tool that best suits your business needs and budget.  My personal recommendation is Google Analytics – a free tool provided by Google.  It is robust and will provide you tons of data that you can use to increase the user friendliness and effectiveness of your site. {Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post – we will be sharing the best web analytics tools and resources out there.}

How to Set up Web Analytics

Every web hosting package has several inbuilt statistic reports software installed.  The tools normally provided with cPanel are AWStats, Webalizer Statistics.  You can check which tool is suitable in your web host control panel and use the same, or you can go with an external tool.

Setting up a web analytics tool usually involves 3 steps.

Step 1: Sign up with a web analytics service.  You’ll have to register for the first time at the website and use the same credentials every time you want to access the tracking tools.

Step 2: Set up the account with your website details.  Include a link to your website and set up your analytics account.

Step 3: Set up the tracking code on your website.  The analytics tool will generate a tracking code that you will have to insert in your website.  You can follow the steps provided by the analytics service.  After you have inserted the tracking code in your site, you’ll have to verify your website through the analytics tool.

The tool will then start recording the data that you’d like to track and you’ll be able to access the reports in a day or so.

Tomorrow’s article will be a list of various web and social media tracking tools that you can use.

Today's Action Step: Install an analytics tool for your business website.

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