Google is kicking some serious butt with their range of free tools for webmasters. Google’s tools are so much more advanced than any offerings from Microsoft or Yahoo or any of the minor players, that there is no real need to mention them at all!
Google has cleverly devised this set of tools, knowing the high probability that the website owner / marketer is probably going to use Google Adwords which coincidentally links in beautifully with the rest of the software.
The cornerstone to understanding a websites success is to measure its performance on a goal based level. For an E-Commerce site, the most important goal is usually a sale. Other sites may consider new members, contact from the visitor, number of blog comments, or even whether certain pages are viewed or not.
Enter Google Analytics: The most comprehensive, free website reporting software I have ever seen. It gives you all the basics such as number of visits, where the traffic is coming from, and traffic over time which are all standard features in the majority of web statistic programs. But the real strength of Google Analytics is the comprehensiveness of information even on the very basic levels;
- How does my traffic changed over time?
- How much traffic do I get from a certain continent, country, state or even city? And more importantly how important is this target group to my campaign?
- How long do visitors spend on my site?
- How often do visitors return to my site after the first visit?
- Visually, how do people navigate my site?
- How often do people abandon the steps to my shopping cart, instead of completing the transaction?
And so it goes on, and on, and on. Even by answering these basic questions, Google Analytics lets you drill down, compare two different time periods – would you like to see that as a bar graph or a line graph?
Unleashing Google Analytics beyond its basic purpose is where the fun starts. Track your transactions dollar for dollar – even look at an overlay of your site, with visual representations of which buttons and links are used most frequently.
Their new interface has some good features – ability to email and create pdf’s from reports, and a wider ranging context for each set of data you view.
A picture might be forming in your imagination of Analytics being the silver bullet – but you’d be mistaken – Analytics is only providing you with virtually every useful bit of info that it can possibly gather about your site’s visitors. The onus is still on the web marketer to analyze, understand and fine-tune.
Google has really hit the nail on the head with Analytics. Installing Google analytics at its most basic level is a breeze for anyone familiar with website building. Thomas Multimedia can setup Google Analytics on your site to whatever level of customisation you require. Information is power!