Web Analytics 101 – Intro – Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

posted in: Web Analytics | 0

Posted by
Paul Wackell – Imagine Web Designs
Principal Website Designer – Marketing Consultant

There’s and old saying, attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Mark Twain and others, that there are three types of lies, lies, damned lies and statistics. What the phrase is describing is the incredible power of statistics to strengthen an argument and sway opinions, especially when the argument is a weak one! It has also been said that you can make statistics say anything. Which for the most part is also true particularly in politics. However when it comes to your website and your marketing efforts, web statistics are absolutely crucial! You must get your web statistics! If you don’t you might as well be playing darts blindfolded. Are you throwing good money after bad at marketing, never knowing if it works or not? NOT ANYMORE!

So, what are web stats! The great thing about the internet and particularly your business website is that you can track just about anything in terms of the who, what, when and where of your site visitors. Most web hosting companies offer web statistics programs to track visitors. Google offers a great service called Google Analytics. Whether you use your web host’s program, Google Analytics or some other stats program, you must get this information on a regular basis.

What kind of information can I get? There are literally hundreds of different types of stats you can find out about your website visitors, some very important, some useless. It is up to you and your marketing team to determine what information is most useful to your unique situation. Here are just a few of the things you can track, unique visitors, traffic sources, referral sources, page views, top content, keywords, geographical locations, entry pages, exit pages, time of visits, bounce rate and so much more. I will discuss many of these categories in future entries. Suffice it to say there is a lot of information available.

What this all means. Marketing has changed substantially. Online marketing tools offer opportunities that offline methods such as advertising and direct mail can’t offer, mainly detailed information about what works and what doesn’t. Online marketing allows you to track and analyze your efforts and control costs by spending on those things that actually produce results.

So what should I do now? First get your web stats at least monthly. If you don’t have the time or the knowledge to set this up on your own, work with your web designer or marketing rep to get them for you. Work with these professionals to learn as much as you can about the most important statistics for your business. Lastly develop a marketing plan oriented around those marketing efforts that have proven successful!  After all its not the statistics that are truly important, its what you do with this information that will lead to marketing success.