Posted on | February 16, 2010 | 1 Comment
Web analytics in a nutshell
So what is web analytics, exactly? To make a long story short, web analytics is a tool to help you to understand how visitors use your website. This is, of course, crucial if you’re using your website/online marketing to achieve your company’s business goals (marketing, sales, etc.)
You can’t get into every user’s head as they visit your site and ask them “is this content useful to you?” or “do you find our online registration form tedious?” but web analytics is the next best thing.
It’s one tool (among many – including usability testing, focus groups, surveys, etc.) to help you get into the head of your online customer and really respond to their needs and wants.
Web analytics software generate metrics – or measurements – of website traffic. Most webanalytics software can spit out gobs and gobs of website traffic metrics. It’s pretty overwhelming, which is why some companies that try to embrace web analytics quickly throw up their hands in frustration after looking at all that data.
It’s about goals
This stuff can be complicated. To dig through all these reams of numbers to find the nuggets of information that will help your business takes more brainpower than tech power.
Web analytics can help you measure visitor traffic and improve the performance of your website, but exactly what to measure depends on what your site is and what you want people to do there. If you’re looking to get started with web analytics but don’t know where to begin, start with three basic questions:
- What is my organization’s site for?
- What do I want visitors to do when they visit my site?
- What do I want my website to do better?
Sound familiar? These are very similar to questions that Emily mentioned in part one of our web redesign series. But it’s important! Based on your answers, you can identify the metrics that matter the most to you and your organization, and whittle down those gobs and gobs of metrics to the critical few that you’ll want to keep tabs on to help make business decisions. Of course, The Web Farm can help you with that part. </shameless plug>
If you’re a non-profit, or a commerce-based site, or a content-based news site, these metrics will be very different. In this case, one size does not fit all.
You’ve got the power!
Until recently, only larger companies with big online marketing budgets could afford web analytics tools. Software and training was out of reach for most small businesses and non-profits.
But in the past few years free and cheap companies like Mint, Clicky, Yahoo! Web Analytics and of course Google Analytics have leveled the playing field so that web analytics solutions are available for smaller outfits who have a presence on the web.
It’s en exciting time! You’ve got more at your fingertips than ever before to create a fantastic web presence that makes your users happy and in turn, makes your business successful.