Small business websites usually don’t have any form of web statistics, which means they don’t have full control of their websites. There is a need to correct this predicament. The importance of of Website statistics lies in the fact that it gives vital information regarding the visitors to a certain website; how they were able to access that website, what keywords made them find the website if they used a search engine, how long they stayed and their general location.
Whenever you make alterations or changes to you website, the website statistics give you the data needed to determine whether the change benefits your site or otherwise, or if will still take more visitors to find out if the change is beneficial.
There are many website statistic packages available in which some have the same advantages as with Google Analytics and some offer other benefits. However, Nigel West, a website author, uses and highly recommends Google Analytics for the following 7 good reasons:
1. Setting Up and Installing is Easy. Anyone can set up a Google Analytics account in about 10 minutes and provide a small piece of code to your web developer to be placed on every page on your site you want to track, which is almost all of them except that you can’t add this to non-HTML documents such as Word and PDF. The need to add only once depends on how your website was written. There are no changes are required to the web server and the company that hosts your website need not get involve. There is no problem installing Google Analytics alongside another website statistics software that uses the web server logs to produce information. The information from both sources can be combined.
2. User-friendly and Understandable. Gathering statistics about your website is non-beneficial if it unaccessible and are hard to understand. The developers of Google have come up with an excellent job creating a web application that is easy to use and the information is also easy to comprehend. The information is shown in layered form with the ability to bore down to the lowest level of detail. Like for example the pie chart representing the source of the visitors, maybe search engine, direct or referring website; you can see the top five (5) sites and search engines that have driven visitors to your site and then, for search engines, see the keywords and keyword phrases typed int the search engines. Information such as the ave. number of pages the visitors looked at; the ave. time of their stay on the website; and the bounce rate (percentage of visitors that immediately go back to their base), is especially relevant when analyzing the effectuality of a pay per click campaign.
3. Own Goals and Dashboard Creation. All businesses, big or small, have a goal. This goal may come in various form such as making online sales, requesting free white paper, make phone contacts or emails or visiting a physical shop. If it is an electronic goal then you can measure it by using Google Analytics. Analytics goal refers to a page or sequence of pages that the visitor has to interact with in order for you to achieve your goal. Let’s say, you are directly selling from your site, you will have a checkout process wherein the visitor after having checked the products they want to order, enters billing and delivery information and followed by payment details. This information may be found on one page alone or on several pages. The payment may be made through a third party website, but you can track up to the point where the visitor leaves. It is obvious that this transaction may cause misreporting as payment may not at all take place. Analytics presents these pages together as a funnel, showing the exact point the visitors abandoned the process. This could highlight a technical problem with a certain particular page, or just may be the the lay-outing of the page is confusing.
You can create your own dashboard with the information Google provides. The dashboard contains the all information you want to see at the level you need to make decisions regarding your website. And if this information isn’t good enough, you can even have the dashboard emailed to you in a variety of formats everyday, weekly, monthly or quarterly so you can make alibis for forgetting to take a look at them.
4. Seeing How Visitors Use Your Site. Site Overlay, which refers to the ability to see which links found on a page are the most popular, is one of the many great features of Google Analytics. What is more interesting is that you can physically assess where you position links on a page. Always bear in mind that you can link to the same page in more than one location or place. Discovering a hot spot on the page means you can put and add more links there, not forgetting to come back and look at the statistics.
5. Update is Automatic. With other website analytics software, you do the updating yourself, whereas Analytics is automatically updated by Google. This means you don’t need to do any updating at all at the same time you earn the benefit of bug fixes and improvements as soon as they are released. Google continually adds new improvements such as functionality, ability to segment traffic. One of its latest feature is the ability to analyze different segments side by side. This feature enables you to continually increase your understanding of your website visitors and measure the effectualness and relevance of changes on your website and outside of your website as well.
6. You can move hosting companies
I’ve moved a few websites from one hosting company to another and whilst you might be able to transfer statistical data, possibly even import it into the new host, it’s a real pain to do. Analytics doesn’t care where the web server is as it collects it directly from the visitor’s web browser, so changing the company that hosts your website does not mean losing your historical website statistics.
7. It’s free!
And it’s Google, so it’s unlikely to disappear or become a subscription service overnight and the data held is secure and private.
If you don’t currently have website statistics available, you can have Google Analytics installed today (provided your or someone else can install Google’s code on all of your web pages) and be understanding how visitors interact with your website tomorrow. It is the first and vital step in increasing the revenue from your website.