Measuring The Traffic To Your Website

I was browsing through some old notes, and found this post by Ryan Opaz at Catavino talking about their site stats, and figuring out the reality behind pageviews in the wine industry. The post had spawned a great discussion, and in preparing a response, I decided should just write a post about site stats.

Are you tracking visitors to your website? If the answer is NO, then you have to catch up with the times. If you owned a hardware store, and I could tell you information about:

  • who your customers are
  • how many customers you have
  • how they find you
  • how long each of them are in your store
  • what they are looking at
  • how long someone is in a particular section
  • is this their first visit
  • what they bought
  • at what point did they decide to leave

Would you not practically beg me for this?
Not only is this information available to you, but you can get this information daily.. FOR FREE.. granted it does take some work to set up. We generally charge clients a set-up fee to incorporate Google into all of the pages of their website, and charge an additional monthly reporting fee to show this information in a “friendlier” format than Google provides. (tying stats to sales statistics and other “key performance indicators”)

There are many different products that offer Site Statistics… some use embedded code, some you have to install on the site yourself. Here are some we have experience using.

  • Google Analytics – Almost any question you could ask can be answered with Google Analytics. HOWEVER, for the beginner, it seems almost as if you need to go take a class to figure out where everything is. There is also a delay in reporting, so you don’t see your stats until the next day. On the bright side, everything you need to know can be found… and its FREE.
  • OneStatFree – I found this while looking to find a live stat counter, and have loved it for its simplicity. The free version doesn’t offer too much information, but it provides the basics. My favorite option is to click the recent visitors tab, and see all of the information provided, like a snapshot of each visitor. If the traffic comes from some corporation it is listed.. very cool to see, tells you the entry page, duration, location, etc.. etc.. Again, this is live tracking, so I can watch my traffic flow real-time.
  • Open Web Analytics – My experience with OWA has been very positive. They have some cool features such as heat-map, which shows where visitors are clicking on a page (our usability experts also love this). It also has some other nice features such as for the referring site, it will tell you the anchor text that was used, as well as the context text (ha!) surrounding the link. This is a pretty cool if you are a blogger using wordpress, as they have a simple plugin that you can use, and they have integrated RSS and ATOM feed statistics. This is an open source analytics program, and I don’t believe they have a hosted solution.. aka .. all of the reporting is done on your site.
  • Woopra – I found a link to this cool looking site while tweeting yesterday. It is still in Beta, and I’m not in just yet, but it looks really cool, and has my attention. We’ll see how it works.

There are lots of other tracking tools out there with great reputations (though not necessarily free). Omniture for example, is a very popular tool, and of course, because you pay for it, you get a lot more. I wouldn’t recommend Omniture for just anyone, it is more of a solution used by big names like Ebay, WalMart, Microsoft, and PayPal… just to name a few.

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Posted in Business, Marketing, Technology | 4 Comments »

  • Web Noob

    You make some very good points, I thought analytics was just about counting the number of visitors, I didn’t realize there was so much more to it. Thanks for the post.

  • Web Noob

    You make some very good points, I thought analytics was just about counting the number of visitors, I didn’t realize there was so much more to it. Thanks for the post.

  • Doug Cress

    I use Google Analytics and StatCounter.

    I like statcounter for real time reporting. The interface is straightforward – though probably not ideal for laymen.

  • Doug Cress

    I use Google Analytics and StatCounter.

    I like statcounter for real time reporting. The interface is straightforward – though probably not ideal for laymen.

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