Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Using Google Analytics for Free Website Tracking

Google Analytics is, by far, the most extensive free website tracking system I've seen, and it's made even better by considering the price. Did I mention how much is it? Oh, yeah... It's FREE!

If you haven't yet installed Google Analytics in you website or your blog, I would recommend that you jump to it and do it right away. The rest of this article won't make much sense until you do, and until it has been running on your site for about a week or so.

Installing Google Analytics
Overview of Analytics main page

Once it has been running on your site for a while, you'll want to check your stats. There are a lot of different numbers, and a lot of different screens. Let me show you which ones I check on a regular basis.

The first one I look at is the visits. That's the default graph that shows up at the top when you first click into your reports. This will show you how many times your site was hit that day. Obviously, you want that to be as many as possible. It will grow, gradually, as you do more and more promotional strategies.

The next thing I always want to know is where my traffic is coming from. On the left navigation bar, I click on "Traffic Sources". There, I can see a list of all the top traffic sources, and all the top keywords that are bringing visitors to my site. If I want to study either one in detail, I can click on the "view full report" link. I can see which of my promotional strategies is bringing in the most clicking traffic.

I can also see which keywords are working the best for me. Sometimes, I've found that the keywords I assumed would be the best aren't the ones that bring me the most traffic. At that point, I have two choices. I can re-optimize for the keywords that my research showed was better, or I can re-optimize for the keywords that I can see are already working. In reality, a combination of both is probably the best way to go.

The last thing I look at on my typical daily checks is the content. It'll show me which pages are getting the most views. Again, sometimes this has surprised me, and shown me where to emphasize both my optimizing work in the future, as well as my monetizing efforts.

Advance research is great. It will prepare you for what's likely to happen. It's also very important to study what is actually happening and be able to adapt it, as well as adapt TO it! With free website tracking from Google Analytics, you can do it.

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

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