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Brian Cuda: How does your website measure up?

It's All Geek To Us

Posted: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Having your Webmaster review your site every one to two years for upgrades is a good idea, but site traffic should be measured much more frequently. The days of having a simple counter that tells the world how many people have visited a site are long gone.

Today, web traffic is measured with much more depth, and the data provides site owners much more information beyond just the number of visitors.

Data collected about site visitors includes where they came from, what they looked at, how long they were there, where they live, what page they were on when they left your site and much more.

Gathering this type of information is critical to understand which parts of your site are working best, which online advertising is the most effective and what parts of the site need improvement. 

One of the most widely used tools for measuring site activity is Google Analytics. Like most Google products, the basic version is free. With a user-friendly graphical interface, Google provides a lot of information about the behavior of the site visitors.

Knowing the source of the site traffic is important in judging which form of promotion or advertising is most effective at attracting site visitors. The analytics graphs illustrate what percentage of visitors came from search engines, referring sites or direct traffic. 

Additionally, each of the sections of the graphs may be furthered explored in Google Analytics, allowing you to see which search engine was most effective, and exactly how many visitors came from a specific source. 

Google can also tell us where the visitors are located and display them on a world map. Drilling down on the map can reveal exactly how many visitors to the site were from a specific country, state or city — helpful information for a business trying to identify or reach a specific segment of the market.

Analytics can be added to almost any site. The basic service is free from Google. To signup, simply go to www.google.com/analytics and follow the steps outlined.

Google will provide you with code that needs to be integrated in your site. Adding the analytics code to your site may require the assistance of your Webmaster, but it is a relatively simple procedure.

Author, quality engineer and process improvement expert, H. James Harrington, summed up the need for measurement when he wrote:

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control, and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

While Google Analytics provides the site owner with valuable information about a site’s performance and visitor behavior; the information allows a business owner to make more accurate decisions when it comes to site changes, advertising sources, and overall site improvement. 

Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at (661) 338-0830  www.conceptinet.com.  Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Readers can submit questions to: brian@geek2us.com.

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