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« A Controversial Topic for the Real World | Main | Learning How to Be an Online Business Success »

Are You Taking the Time to Analyze Your Web Statistics?

My main focus for today is to encourage people to get setup with analytics software and learn how to use it.  A later post will look into some of the finer points of analyzing web statistics.

There are plenty of decent analytics programs on the market.  One of my personal favorites is Google Analytics.  It is a free service with few restrictions.  Google Analytics is easy to install and web based.  This allows you to check your web statistics from anywhere with a web connection.  Data is compiled every few hours, making it near real time.  Their current restriction allows you up to 5 million page views per month.  If you have a Google Adwords account their page view restriction is lifted.  If you are getting over 5 million page views a month, that’s a good problem.  Purchasing higher end analytics software should be a question at that time.

Whatever analytics software you use, take the time to read the manual.  There are so many people that only have a basic grasp of how to use their analytics software.  The more you understand about the program the more you can leverage the data.

You should check your analytics on a regular basis. Some people check monthly or every few months.  This isn’t enough.  My usual routine is checking at least twice a day.  You don’t need to spend an extended period of time going through statistics. As you learn to use your web statistics program the process becomes very quick.  It should only take a minute or two each time you check.  Real time tracking is beneficial in this area because you don’t need to compile a report each time you check your data.

When I check my statistics daily I look for two things: daily traffic trends and referring traffic sources.  First, I compare my daily traffic from day to day. This helps me gauge in the short term my traffic performance.  Second, analyzing referring traffic sources helps me to determine the effectiveness of my organic and paid search engine campaigns.  I might also look at what pages or articles people are checking regularly.

Make sure you understand the difference between hits and statistics.  Businesses need to recognize the difference because they are inadvertently misrepresenting their statistical data. 

Another pet peeve is hearing business people brag about how much traffic they get to their web site.  Traffic is great as long as you can capitalize.  You need to start with concentrating on getting high quality traffic.  High quality traffic refers to users from your target market, not the general user populous.  Those users are interested in what you have to offer. After getting high quality traffic, you can then focus on converting that traffic.  A conversion usually involves an online sale, capturing an email address, or another set of performance metrics.  It’s not about quantity of traffic but quality of traffic.

If you are serious about your online aspirations make sure you have a good web analytics application working for you.  After you have good data to work from you need to be able to interpret that data.  Get setup and go play.

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