Analytics Are Your Friend!

By Amanda Bala

Does your website have analytics?  And… if so, do you check them regularly? Though most business owners understand that using an analytics package is important, many do not do it.  Well, seeing that it is the New Year and we want you to get off on the right foot, now would be the perfect time to start using analytics.  In this two-part article, we will look at what analytics are, why we should be using them and how to do it.  In the second part, we will look at exactly what data you need to be analyzing from your website.  

What are Analytics:  Analytics are overall statistics about traffic and visitor trends in regards to your website.  This is the data you need to look at to determine if your website is having any sort of impact.  Some examples of data you can get from your analytics include: number of visits to your site, what pages visitors go to, how long visitors are on your site and what sites are referring people to you.  These are just a few.

Where Do I Shop:  Analytics programs are all web based and found online.  You do not need to purchase software or anything for them.  The most well-known and free system is Google Analytics.  Others systems may charge a fee (prices vary).  Some systems include: VisiStat, Chartbeat, Mint, Woopra and Clicky.  Research the different systems and find one that you are comfortable with, both with use and cost.  Then ask your website developer to incorporate them into your website. 

Common Pitfalls:  The most common mistakes people make are that they either look at their data too often or not enough.  There is a balance that needs to be attained.  Looking at short time frames generally will not give you very useful information.  However, once you begin using your analytics system, it is easy to become obsessive in trying to see what is happening on your site.  On the other hand, you want to make sure that you are looking at the data often enough.  By waiting too long, you can often miss opportunities to see which things you are doing that are creating changes in traffic or conversions.  The best way to avoid both of these situations is to set a regular schedule to look at your analytics.  Pick a certain time each month, the end of the month usually being a good time, to go through all of the data and determine what is working and what is not.

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