web analytics for small business websites

| January 18, 2012
For most, ‘web analytics’ sounds like something the geeky (or nerdy) kid would use or that course in college you stayed far away from.  For small business owners, web analytics can be a valuable tool to learn more about customer interaction on their website, and to better understand if their website is supporting their overall business goals.  This post, will touch on the very basics of web analytics, and help you get started with learning more about your website.

Web analytics is defined as ” the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage (1)”.

Ok, i bored you, forget that definition, think of it as basic information about how customers find and use your website.

If you don’t have analytics on your site, go to Google Analytics, create an account, then email the code to your web developer and yell at them for not doing this sooner.

Start simple…

Don’t overwhelm yourself with all the reports, techie lingo and fancy graphs.  Start simple and have some fun with it.  I’m going to start you off with 3 basic reports that will get you started and answer a few important questions about customer interaction with your website.

3 Basic Web Analytics Reports:

  1. How many people visit my site? Start with basic traffic. The default “Audience Overview” report will show you how many people are visiting your site.
  2. How did they find my website? Then look at the “Traffic Sources – Overview” report. It will breakdown where the visitors came from.
    • – Search traffic – visitors sent to you via search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc)
      – Referral traffic – visitors sent to you from another website.
      – Direct traffic – visitors that entered your ‘dot com’ address into their web browser and came directly to your site.
  3. What pages did they visit? Go to Content > Site Content > Pages. This will give you a list the most popular pages viewed on your site.

Just think, you now know (1) how many people came to your website (2) how they found your website and (3) what pages they viewed.

What does all this mean?  Well, there is no default answer on how to apply these metrics to your business.  Each business website supports a businesses in different ways.

In future articles I’ll get a little more advanced with metrics and reports, but still keeping it non-geeky.

References:

(1) The Official WAA Definition of Web Analytics

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Category: web & small business

richard m. fagan

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