A common question people have about their websites is “How do I track how many people come to my site?” This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends on how you qualify one visitor, among other factors. If your mom comes to your website 15 times in one day, does that count as one visitor or 15? Also, if you can get information about how many visitors you have, what other information can you get? This information is commonly called analytics. A web developer can use this information to see how their website is being used and change and maintain it accordingly.

Most servers have a default level of data capture and data collection that is automatic. This means that every time a visitor comes to that web server, the web server captures some data about that visitor. This data goes beyond just counting who visited the site. It contains information such as; when different people visit your site, what sites led them to your site, what browsers they were using, and their operating systems. Analytics provides statistics that can help you make decisions about improving your website.

It is arguably the most important tool at your disposal in measuring the effectiveness of your Internet marketing techniques and overall website performance. By taking the time to understand this data, you can begin to understand the motivations and interests of your audience.

Since this data updates on a regular basis, you are also able to gauge the effectiveness of any changes that you make. These are the most basic examples, as there are many more useful bits of information available- what search terms your visitors are using to find you, what sites are bringing you the most traffic, how long your visitors are staying, etc. Maintaining a successful website is an ongoing process, and visitor data is crucial to getting optimum results.

Ideally, you will want to see both new and repeat visitors represented in the Google Analytics statistics. A good bounce rate is one below fifty precent, as this means that at least half of your visitors are not leaving immediately upon opening your page. A good average time spent on site is between one and two minutes, as this range generally represents a mix of buyers/readers/users and visitors who “bounce”.

Here are a few commonly used terms that will help you to better understand the data you find within Google Analytics:

Page Views

This is the number of pages downloaded, no matter how many files comprise that page. So, a visitor who comes to a page counts as one, and if that visitor refreshes the page, another page view is logged.

Unique Visitors

This is the number of individual IP addresses that access your site. This is more representative of the number of visitors, but if many people use the same computer at a school or library, the number of unique visitors may not match the number of actual unique people who visited.

Entry Pages

These are the pages on which people enter your website. Most of the time you want people to come to your home page, but sometimes someone links to a particular page on your website. This tells you what people come to your website looking to find.

Exit Pages

These are the pages from which people leave your website. It is easy to make guesses as to why they leave, but it could really be anything. For example, if you have a page of links to other sites, it might be a place from which a large number of people leave your site.

Referrers

These are websites that have links to your site on which people have clicked to arrive on your site. Keep an eye on these to see whether new people are making references to you, and look at what they are saying. If they recommend your site for something, drop them a line thanking them.

Search Strings

These are search terms that people use to find your site. They help you make sure you are being found in search engines correctly.

Average Time on Site

This is the average time a person has been on your site from entry to exit. Don’t be alarmed if this is a low number. Think about how long you are on a website for, oftentimes it is no longer than 2 minutes!

New Visitors

These are the visitors who come to your website for the first time.

Browsers Used

Google Analytics will tell you what browsers and versions visitors use. This information is helpful because it allows you to see what browsers your visitors are using, and what browsers you should be testing on your site for optimal user experience.

Direct Traffic

There are a few different ways that visits can come directly to your site. First, if a person finds your site, bookmarks your site, and then returns to your site at a later time, that is considered direct traffic. If a person types in your website address directly into the URL, it is also considered direct traffic. Keep in mind that when a person visits your site from an advertisement that is direct traffic from both the advertisement and a direct URL search.

Referrals

A referral is when someone on another website clicks on a link pointing to your website. It is not 100% proof of tracking, but it is generally fairly accurate.

Visitors Overview

How many of your website trade is new visitor’s contra returning visitors? Knowing this competence assistance we word calm opposite or run certain selling programs geared towards one form of caller contra another.

Real-Time Data

With its real-time reports, users can view the activity on the site as it happens, drilling into the top active pages, top referrals, keywords and geographic locations driving the traffic. In addition to monitoring current activity on the site, these reports can also be used to test campaign tracking prior to launching campaigns.

Site Speed

Why is this important? A slow site can have a negative effect on quality score for paid search, so visits can cost more to a slower site. Google has also indicated that site speed may be an important factor in organic search rankings.

Multichannel Funnels

Reports aim to aid in the problem by showing how previous referrals, searches, and other exposures contributed to your sales.

Event Goals

Events allow you to measure those that pause or fast forward on a video, who clicks an ad, those that download an eBook or how many errors a visitor encounters during the checkout.

Flow Visualization

Goal flow visualization provides quick insight into what is working and not working for your goals. You can see the relative volume of visits by referral sources, the rates at which visitors abandon specific parts of your site, how visitors navigate forward and backwards, and how visitors navigate steps that you’ve defined, among other things.

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Data Mining, Data Tracking, Google Tools, Online Tools, Web Analytics