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Apr, 19 2010

KNOW YOUR ONLINE GUESTS

IT is not only interesting to get to know the visitors to your website, but important and often indispensable for a small business, like yours. If you are not tracking your web traffic you would not be able to gauge if you have provided good content and m

IT is not only interesting to get to know the visitors to your website, but important and often indispensable for a small business, like yours. If you are not tracking your web traffic you would not be able to gauge if you have provided good content and marketing decisions to compete with your opponents. Tracking your web traffic helps you know if you are steadily getting more traffic with time or your traffic is decreasing. Unless you know your score how are you going to compete? Web analytics is a tool which gives you the facts you need to develop competitive strategies. You need a powerful web analytics system for measuring your progress? Do you have one?

Before you start using web analytics, you should know what questions you want answered or what data on your website you want to generate? Some of these questions should be:

  • How many first-time visitors are visiting your site every month? Is your overall traffic or number of page views increasing (or decreasing, is almost the same) month after month.
  • Who all are visiting your site? Are you able to attract your desired target market or geographical location?
  • What percentage of the visitors leaves the site immediately after visiting the home page? How can you correct this?
  • How did they get to your site? By clicking on a link in an email or website/blog etc. Did they find you in a search engine?
  • Which are the most and least visited pages on your site?
  • Which parts of your site they visit and how long they stay on your site?
  • How many of your visitors are actually turning into customers?
  • Do your visitors show any interesting navigating patterns?

Choose your Web Analytics

Software

There are several web analytics softwares available which you can chose from depending on your needs. If your presence on the web is as simple as running a blog you may not need advanced features in your web analytics system. Most of the data an average website needs like number of page views, website referrers, detailed visitor statistics etc can be fulfilled by using Google analytics. Most importantly Google analytics offers the most basic and practical features, free of cost. But if you want to track activities on your website on a real time basis, Google analytics will be a limitation.

If your website is your business driver then you may need advanced features in your web analytics system. These can be, getting to know the key words used by your visitors to find your site, high level of detail of every visitor, every action per visit for each visitor, highly detailed analysis of the last 500 page loads etc. which would be offered by paid analytics systems like Getclicky.com, MeasureMap, StatCounter, SiteMeter etc. Some of these advanced systems have a free version which can be used by websites with a particular traffic limit, say, 2.5 lakh page-views per month. Additionally they offer a paid version for websites exceeding a particular limit, say, above 2.5 lakh page-views per month.  Here are some outlined checkpoints for you to consider before you chose your web analytics system.

Choose a system that gives you real time updates so that you can make changes to your site expecting certain visitors. Secondly you should be able to track every action of a visitor before he exits. What is the first action of visitors and how you can make it easier? Is it this action that you want them to take? Do most visitors exit from a particular place in your site? What is the problem here and how you can fix it?

For those websites with a heavy advertising revenue, it is important that your WAS should help you understand the profile of your user and his browsing behavior so as to enable conversions for advertisements.

The last and the most important thing to consider is don't choose a system that slows down your site. You might as well choose a system which offers lesser features as compared to another, but loads your site faster. Why I am emphasizing this point is that you cannot because of any good reason compromise on user experience. Else you might have no traffic to measure at all.

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