Earlier in the month I posted this thread discussing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That is all well and good but matters very little if you cannot quantify the results of your efforts. For this I strongly recommend Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. Its main highlight is that the product is aimed at marketers as opposed to web masters and technologists from which the industry of web analytics originally grew. It is the most widely used website statistics service, currently in use at around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites.
GA can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.
Integrated with AdWords, users can review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file. These can also be monetized. By using GA, marketers can determine which ads are performing, and which are not, providing the information to optimise or cull campaigns.
In my opinion it is a very powerful collection of tools to be using. It will give feedback on many different aspects of your site. I mainly use it to track visitor origin, time on the site, most popular pages, bounce rate and traffic sources. I flung a few “technical” words just then so let me define them all
Visitor Origin: The country of origin that the user who visited your site came from. GA displays these on a map, which is a really nice visual representation of the data.
Time On The Site: How long the visitor stayed on your site. GA also allows this to be broken down to individual pages on your site.
Popular Pages: The pages which your visitors are drawn to. GA displays this information by means of a percentage of all visits
Bounce Rate: It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site. A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-time-out occurs. There is no industry-standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave in order for a bounce to occur. Rather, this is determined by the session time-out of the analytics tracking software.
Traffic Sources: This indicates where visitors were before coming to your site. For example you may have a twitter account that directs people to your site via links. You could see how effective that is at getting people to visit your site.
Okay, so this sounds good. How do I get it working?
As mentioned before this is a WordPress Blog. This is important because I used a plugin on this site to use this tool.
I used the plugin : Google Analyticator
First you will need a Google account setup. You can created one on this page. It should take less than 5 minutes to get going Once that is done you will need to sign up for GA. You can do this here. Simply enter in the required information and you should at the end of this process have a Google Analytics UID shown to you. Very important to copy it.
After you have installed and enabled the Google Analyticator plugin visit the settings page and enter your Google Analytics UID. Simple as that! Google Analyticator has a FAQ and Support page. If you have any problems I suggest you read them If all went well you will then be able to log into Google Analytics and monitor your site traffic. Please note that it may take upto 36 hours for the tracker to become fully operational.
Coming Soon: Using Google Analytics on regular web pages. Also Search Engine Optimisation for Images.