Web Analytics FAQ
Information on web site traffic analysis and how to track and analyze traffic to your web site
If you are involved in running an online business, you've probably wondered about the traffic to your web site. How much traffic does your site get? Where is the traffic coming from? How do visitors find your site? What pages are visitors viewing when they get to your site? How many visitors are first-time visitors, and how many are repeat visitors?
More importantly - What percentage of your visitors make a purchase at your site? How well are your paid advertising campaigns performing, and which ones are performing better than others? What can you do to improve your site's ROI?
A hosted web analytics service can be used to answer these questions and gain valuable insight into the traffic to your site. Used properly, these services can be leveraged to provide critical information to web site marketers and those who run online businesses for making strategic decisions, increasing traffic, and growing the business.
Most web analytics services provide a comprehensive library of reports. To start with, most services provide basic statistics such as the number of unique visitors to the site, number of page views, number of repeat visitors, number of first-time visitors, etc. Most services also provide breakdowns of traffic by geographic location, pages viewed, entry pages, exit pages, referring web site, ISP, etc. Many services also provide reports that show the search terms that visitors entered in search engines, (such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing), for visitors that found the site through search engines. Additionally, most services report on technical information about visitors, such as types of browsers and operating systems used, which may be useful to web designers.
Web Analytics Demystified
The Definitive Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business
Available Now Through Amazon
Some traffic analysis services take reporting to the next level, allowing you to 'drill-down' through the reports and segment your visitors, in order to focus on a specific subset of your visitors. For example, these types of reports may be used to examine only visitors that came from a particular referring site, or only visitors that reached the site through a particular advertising campaign, or only visitors that made a purchase. With these types of reports, it is often possible to view individual visitors' page-by-page path through the site, if necessary.
For online businesses and 'eCommerce' web sites, some web analytics services offer tools that can be used to breakdown traffic based on certain defined goals, such as completing a registration form, adding an item to a shopping card, proceeding to a shopping cart checkout page, or finally completing a payment transaction. These services can also be used to track the performance of paid advertising campaigns (such as Google Adwords) or email marketing campaigns; and calculating ROI from these campaigns. Reports can also be used to pick up trends that may drive strategic decisions for growing an online business. For example, an online marketer may see from this type of report that only a small percentage of visitors from advertising campaign A ultimately make a purchase at the web site, whereas a much greater percentage of visitors from advertising campaign B make a purchase at the site. This type of insight may drive a business decision to reallocate funds from campaign A to campaign B, which is performing better - a decision that could directly impact the bottom line of the business.
Free Web Analytics ServicesA number of providers offer free web analytics services - most notably Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics. Both of these providers offer fairly comprehensive web analytics solutions, which rival some of the competing paid services. However, one drawback of these services is that data may not always be available in real time - some have reported a lag of several hours before visitor data appears in reports. In addition, some in the web analytics industry have raised questions about the ways that these providers may be using the data that they collect through these free analytics services. For more information on this subject, you may want to read the paper 'Free Analytics are Not Always the Best Deal', published by Net Applications.
Entry/Mid Level Paid Web Analytics ServicesEntry/mid level web analytics services generally offer several of different service plan, across a range of price points, geared for different types of clients. Pricing typically is also tiered based on the level of traffic to the web site and the number of page views tracked, and generally starts in the $10.00 - $20.00 / month range. A few of the services that we have reviewed and recommend are:
Enterprise Level Web Analytics ServicesEnterprise level web analytics services take web analytics a step further than the mid/entry level services. Mid/entry services generally provide a one-size-fits-all web analytics service, then leave it up to you to run with the ball at that point. Enterprise level services on the other hand, offer a much more comprehensive set of services, designed to enable their clients make actionable business decisions and develop strategies based on the information derived from the analytics. Services in this class generally include training, consulting, and creation of customized dashboards and reports tailored to clients' specific web site or business. Enterprise level services also often are able to cross-reference clients' data with industry data to compare and contrast a client's site's performance with other businesses in the same industry. Most enterprise-level services also provide lifetime storage of visitor data, so that long term trend reporting is possible; and most enterprise-level services include guaranteed service level agreements. Pricing for enterprise level services is generally in the range of several thousand dollars per month. A few of the services in this class are:
ContactFeedback? Questions? Comments? Corrections? Advertising inquiries? Please submit your query through our contact form.
© Meixler Technologies, Inc.