Google Analytics: The easy way to monitor website statistics
Keeping tabs on the performance of any website can be a tricky operation especially if budgets are limited. OK, so the big guns will have invested a small fortune in sophisticated software, delivering a mass of information, perhaps only falling short of providing the inside leg measurement of their website visitors. But for the budget restricted there is an easy solution courtesy of those masters of the Internet, Google. What's more it free….yes free. Well I don't know about you but I like 'free' so long as free really works. Well this is one freebee that's well worth getting signed up to. The main point being is that Google Analytics, as it's generally referred, delivers as much as most organisations will reasonably need.
Setting yourself up with Google Analytics simply requires a small amount of code adding to the pages of your website. This is provided along with full instructions once you've registered for an account. The cool part about the whole set up is that you can easily share the stats with other interested parties. Once you are running everything is packaged neatly and viewed via a regular browser / dashboard type affair. On accessing the data you'll find all manner of fascinating bits and pieces opening up a window on your website visitors. Details such as how visitors found your website, their geographical location, keyword searches, referring websites etc are the most obvious and regularly viewed elements.
For any website owner but specifically for those with geo-specific websites, the world map overly is an intriguing option. Providing global usage stats in a visually appealing form gives a real feel for the density of users in particular regions. Another important feature is the site overlays. The site overlays provide some very revealing details concerning the movements of users towards preset goals. Since we've now mentioned goals let me just explain how these work. Goals are often used in conjunction with funnels to specify what particular parts of a site are considered as a desired results or aim. This could be a contact form or product order page for instance. The funnel, as the name may suggest, is the route taken to the goal. Depending upon an endless number of reasons any number of funnels or paths may be taken to the reach a gaol. The goals can be tagged as having a financial value and thus help in analysing the return on investment for various parts of a website.
As you might expect just about everything is presented in an attractive graphical form. Furthermore, a clever mix of options allows endless methods of presentation. So if you prefer graphs over lists or pie charts over flow charts you'll not be disappointed. Overall there really is way too much to Google Analytics to do try and summarise here. The best thing about Google Analytics is that the most you stand to loose are possibly a few hours of fiddling. As the whole thing runs though a web browser there's also no stress over potentially screwing up your system with a nasty bit of ill-conceived software. So go on give it a try, after all don’t' they say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating? Fill your boots!
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