Web Analytics – Are They For You?

If you’re like most small business marketers, you’ve probably heard of web analytics. Perhaps you even have Google Analytics on your website, and maybe you’ve even looked at the metrics in the past 6 months. One common theme I’ve seen among marketers I know is that analytics is something to do only when they have spare time, and is usually low on the priority list. In some (rare) cases that’s fine, but the more important your website is to your business, the more critical web analytics become. If your selling anything on your site, or driving traffic to it via other marketing channels, you owe it to yourself to see what your users are doing.

I’m one of those people that truly enjoy web analytics. I’m a numbers guy, and some would call me a quant geek (though I don’t know that I’m smart enough to fit that mold). From my first job at a small gaming startup, I’ve known the importance of monitoring traffic to the different web properties. Analytics can tell you who is visiting your site, from where they came, and what they are doing when they get there. This is the kind of information that traditional marketers decades ago could only dream about, and now that we have it it’s amazing to me that it doesn’t have more emphasis from today’s marketers.

It isn’t the intention of this post to teach you how to use analytics, there are countless other resources out there to get your feet wet (A favorite of mine is Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik). My intention is only to make you aware of the power of the information that’s readily available. If you don’t have web analytics on your site now, I recommend installing the free Google Analytics. There’s no cost, and minimal setup time, and the default tracking can provide you many insights into your users¬†behavior;¬†insights you can use to improve your website’s performance, design, and ultimately: conversions.

So, to answer the question “Are web analytics for you?” That answer is probably a resounding YES! As I mentioned before, there are rare cases where you can safely omit analytics from your website, but they must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You make no money from your website (directly or indirectly)
  2. You don’t spend money driving traffic to your website
  3. You don’t care if users are using the site the way you indended

If even one of those statements isn’t true of your website, you should be looking at your analytics on a regular basis to see what improvements could be made on your site.

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