Site statistics are very important for a website business owner to understand and more importantly use. There are many different packages available that can help you gather this information.
Many hosting companies have their own statistics packages but one of the easiest is the free Google Analytics package from Google. It is installed quickly and can start giving you useful information quickly. Here is what I can find in seconds from their powerful dashboard about any site.
- Number of visitors in a selected time period – you can select date ranges and compare time periods
- What countries and cities they came from
- How long they stayed on your site.
- What pages did they visit
- If they were new or returning visitors
The information in the list above is what you can see in seconds and ‘under the hood’ there is a lot more valuable information.
It is critical that you understand the traffic that is coming to your website. What is the point of having a website unless you know how many visitors you are having to the site, what keywords they are searching and how long they are staying on the site.
If you do not know your website traffic you might as well not have bothered with a website.
Google Analytics Features
Google Analytics has many features that can tell you what is happening with your website on a daily basis.
It can show which pages are sending the most traffic to your site and which are the most popular. You should pay attention to these sites and work on them regularly to provide interesting and relevant material.
- Set up goals for your site’s pages and structure your calls to action to suit these goals
- Provide customised reports to show the most relevant information on your site at any one time
- Show traffic at different times of the day, show impressions versus clicks and develop a rich understanding how your site is operating on the web.
- Allow different people access to view and process the data for you
- Show the traffic sources (search engine, links or direct traffic.
How Does Google Analytics Actually Work
Google Analytics works by putting a small lightweight piece of tracking code on each webpage of your site. This is embedded on the site and runs every time someone visits your site transparently. What is also useful in Google analytics is that it allows you to filer out specific computer (or IP) addresses so if you have an office with lots of people accessing your site you can remove them so that it does not falsely skew the numbers.
Once it is installed you can work with your website and focus more clearly on your website and content activities. Google Analytics stands out in the way it is presented with easy to read data and charts at a glance. More advanced users can dig down into nitty gritty data if needs.