Google Analytics

Why you should make analytics an important part of your website strategy

This is the first post in a series of articles which expands on Six things you absolutely have to have on your website

The series is known as The Six Pack.

When I check out a website, I am often amazed that there are no analytics installed.  Analytics are invaluable to help understand what your website is doing.  Are more people looking at your website this month than last month?  If you have analytics installed, you will know.

Google Analytics
Flickr: Roberrific

Defining your purpose

Does your website have a purpose?  Have you defined that purpose and are you meeting your goals?  This is what analytics will help you do.  If your goal is to have 5,000 pageviews per month, then you will be able to adequately know if you are meeting that goal.

Is your goal to have someone to make contact with you or buy something?  Your analytics will tell you if visitors are being funneled in the right direction to do so.  If you have a landing page, you can also tell if your visitors are taking action when they are on the page.

Two Alternative Options

Hit counters are a skewed metric.  They measure the number of “hits” or “pings” on your website’s server.  Often, one person looking at one page generates multiple hits.  That is because a web page often contains multiple files that are linked.  For instance, a web page will contain graphics, images and other files such as cascading style sheets.  This was a good metric in the early days as most websites did not contain multiple files.  Hit counters are for show.

Most web hosting companies will offer a software that generates raw numbers for metrics.  This is usually hard to read and sort through.  This kind of software can be unfiltered.  Sometimes, it doesn’t give a good reflection as it counts everything and there are usually few options to filter the data.

Your best option is to install either Google Analytics or some other web based software reporting.  I highly recommend Google Analytics as it because it is free and very feature rich.  Quantcast and Omniture are two other paid options.

A website is part of your overall marketing strategy and is the primary online marketing strategy for your business.  Not measuring results is not an option.