Monitoring Website Performance
With any form of marketing, statistics are essential in understanding whether the particular form of marketing is working for you. In advertising, source codes and promotional pricing are used to help businesses to work out the return from their advertising investment. Sales people are monitored for their performance. Websites are no different and by their very nature they can give you much more accurate and varied technical information than any other form of sales and marketing there is.
We recommend 2 free of charge tools that can help you to understand more about the visitors that land on your website.
One tool that is easy to integrate can be found at www.statcounter.com. We love this tracking tool, particularly for new websites, because you can drill right down into an individual’s activity on your website.
The free version stores the last 500 pieces of information, which is more than enough for a new website. Each week the program emails you visitor statistics including the breakdown between new visitors and returning visitors. By accessing your account on Statcounter you can then check out some really useful features from the left hand menu. The most valuable are:
Visitor Paths: This shows you individual visits and which pages were accessed so you can start to profile people and the pages that they were interested in viewing.
Top Exit Pages: This indicates the most common pages that visitors leave your site on, essential in working out what can be improved to increase enquiries.
Have a browse down the left hand menu; there are loads of useful features in Statcounter.
My other recommended analysis software is now in common use, Google Analytics. This simple to integrate code really comes alive when you begin to get significant volumes of web traffic.
Google Analytics provides more of a macro view of your visitors and can be used to graph trends, set goals and monitor progress. The most useful information for website owners is:
Traffic Sources: These pages indicate where your traffic is coming from, highlighting the search engine, if the visits are direct (they have typed your domain name in) or if they have come from other pages via links (eg blogs). This information helps you to see which of your online marketing efforts are working, and how.
Content Overview: Here you can review the top pages that were visited, helping you to understand which pages are working well, and which ones are not.
There are so many features within both programs that can help you understand your visitors more. I would encourage you to include statistical data capture into your website, you will definitely find the results valuable.
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