Why Use Web Analytics? - A Total Beginner's Introduction to Web Analytics
This is meant to be the simplest possible introduction to web analytics. It simply explains what web analytics is, why you should use it and how to get started.
Definition: Web analytics is the analysis of how people interact with your website.
Why Use Web Analytics?
The most common reason to use web analytics is to make more money - lots of it!
Businesses can use web analytics to answer questions like:
- How do people find our website?
- Of all the people that come to our website, how many actually contact us?
- Where are our website visitors located?
- For each sale we make on our website, how much do we spend on advertising?
With information on how people use your website, you can take action to improve the website and improve your marketing. That will result in higher profits.
This cannot be understated! Web analytics is extremely, massively, enormously important to making money online. Web analytics will let you know what works and what doesn't, so you can constantly improve your business.
What Are Some Common Features in Web Analytics?
Web analtyics platforms can commonly tell you 1) about your visitors, 2) how they arrived on your website and 3) what they do on your website.
About your visitors:
- How many visitors have visited your website in any time period.
- Which languages they speak.
- Where they are located.
- How many of them are first time visitors and how many have been to your website before.
- Which Internet browsers and operating systems they are using.
- Whether they're on mobile devices, tablets or desktop computers.
How they arrived on your website:
- Which "channel" they used to find your website. For example, a search engine, social media platform or "referral" (link on another website).
- Some of the search phrases (keywords) people used to find your site.
- Which specific websites and webpages people used to click a link to land on your site.
What they did on your website:
- How many times each page on your website was viewed.
- What they searched for on your site (if you have a search box).
- How many people arrived on your site and then left without clicking anything else on the site.
- Often most importantly, how many people met a "goal". Goals can be configured by you or your marketing contact. The most common goals are for a visitor to contact you or for a visitor to make a purchase.
How Can I Get Started?
You first need to sign up for an account and install it on your website. This involves pasting a small amount of code on your website. The code is provided by the analytics platform that you sign up for.
You may also need to do some configuration within the analytics platform in order to get all the information you require. One common example is the configuration of "goals". A goal may be used to do things like track when users use your contact form or when they make a purchase on your website.
Google Analytics is the most commonly used web analytics platform. It has great features and is free. They provide instructions on how to get started.
If your website & marketing is done by others:
- Your marketing contact can help you configure analytics. They may also request customizations to the code placed on the website.
- Your web developer contact can help you put the code on your website.
Where Can I Learn More?
Google's Analytics Academy provides a great introductory video course.
Get setup with Google Analytics or another web analytics platform and simply play around. Go in there and try out all the different reports. This is most useful if you have data for a real business.
If you have a marketing agency do this for you, they should be able to determine what information you require and then build custom reports to suit your needs.