As Web developers, designers, and marketers, we are quick to make recommendations to improve Web sites. Yes, we can look at anecdotal evidence and say, "I did this for another client, and boy did the site take off." What's missing is concrete evidence that substantiates the claim and excludes other influences. This is where Web analytics comes into play.
As defined by the Official WAA, web analytics is the collection, measurement, reporting, and breakdown of web based data in order to understand and optimize website usage. It is the process of measuring site statistics and analyzing traffic behavior. There are various terms used to describe the science of recording and interpreting website statistics, including web metrics, web stats, and site stats, to name a few. E-metrics refers to analysis of electronic businesses.
Web analytics, whose origins date back to the invention of the Web, was originally only for those individuals who had a technical background, but today anyone can understand and use web analytics, thanks in part to software with improved user interfaces and easy-to-understand reports. Despite the fact that web analytics are being conducted more often, there are still many users who fail to take advantage of the many benefits that can be derived from the information. Web analytics allow users to identify the areas of the website that are successful and the areas that need improvement. Changes to the website should be implemented based upon the information provided in the analytics. Additionally, web developers and marketing folks need to share the analytic tool because each group has specific needs that can be fulfilled by the tool.
There are two generally accepted categories of web analytics (and statistics): off-site and on-site. As its name denotes, off-site analytics and data includes the measurement, analysis, and reporting of a website's potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is occurring on the Internet as a whole.
On-site analytics refers exclusively to the web based measurement, analysis, and reporting of specific data on a given website. The metrics includes conversion elements, traffic measures and link popularity. On-site analytics measures the web based performance of a website from a commercial perspective, therefore when "web analytics" is used in a commercial context, most people are referring to on-site web analytics.
If you are looking for website statistics or analytics to help you better understand your website's traffic, then you've come to the right place. At Psycray, we offer a variety of website data services and web analytics packages designed to help you better understand and convert your website traffic into profitable business.
Let's look at some of the terminology used in Web analytics reports. While there are many tools on the market that offer varying degrees of functionality and reporting, most advanced programs can compile and process data into comparable reports.
The History of Web Analytics
In the beginning, Web sites contained only Web pages. Web pages were composed of only text. All web page "hits" were recorded in a single access log. Faced with huge log files and a desire to know how many pages were requested, a clever individual developed a tool that scanned the log and reported the number of hits. The result was the birth of Web analytics.
Pages vs. Hits
"Hits" is probably one of the most used terms in Web analytics. But unfortunately, it's also one of the most incorrectly used terms in Web analytics. According to Wikipedia, a hit in Web analytics is: "any request for a file from a Web server."
As discussed earlier, hits are helpful from a server perspective if you really need to know how many unique requests were made, but not very useful from a true analytics perspective nor reliable in a business situation. Hits are only really useful if you're a Web server administrator and you want to find out why a page is slow to load. Don't use the term hits unless you want people to know you don't know much about Web analytics or Web measurement.
Just looking at page count doesn't tell you much. It's a barometer just like visitor count. For true analytics, you need to find the reason for the change. That might be found by using some of the advanced techniques below, or you might have to investigate outside of the access log. Simply reporting page count and visitors is like telling somebody the temperature is 30 degrees. Is it Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Effect of Search Engine Optimization
All too often, organizations focus on improving ranking for the wrong phrases. Sure, it's great to be No. 1, but what good does it do if no one searches for the term? Web analytics won't tell you if you picked the wrong phrases, but it will tell you if the phrase is driving traffic to your site. If it's not, look at information presented on the SERP. Perhaps your page needs some tuning to display a better message on the SERP.
Benefits of Web Analytics
Web analytics has been gaining steady popularity among websites, blogs, and portals. It is used to analyze market trends and to identify website users or visitors. It is also used to determine the behavior of website users. It is a great tool to determine your latest website trends and your visitors' or users' preferences in terms of site features.
- It helps monitor your visitors and users.
With web analytics, you know how long your visitor stayed in your website, who they are and where they came from. You know their click streams, the keywords they used, and how they came to be on your website (referral pages, search engines, etc.). You also can determine how many times a user or a visitor returned to your website and which pages were given preference.
- It can help you devise a sales and e-marketing plan.
Web analytics will assist you in preparing an e-marketing plan with specific objectives and strategies. The plan will prove to be effective because it will be based on actual facts and not mere probabilities. By tracking the items which were highly viewed, you will learn which products received the highest response. You will also be able to develop other programs that you have already employed like pay-per-click or PPC advertising. You will be able to attract and retain more consumers.
Web analytics is much more than hits, visits, and page views. Web analytic tools are worthy of more attention than a mere once-a-month look for a quick summary. By monitoring and analyzing the analytics information frequently, we create expert recommendations for improvement and over time, we are able to prove the effectiveness of the changes.
As companies realize the long-term value of the Internet and mobile web, the basic need to measure their website efforts becomes critical to the success of a business. While it is very easy to say "we should measure," it is much more difficult to use digitally collected data to compete on analytics. That's where we come in.
Web Analytics Services
Psycray has experience helping business leaders establish and execute on digital measurement strategies. We help our clients transform their analytics investment into a source of incremental profits.
Psycray believes that Internet marketing programs should deliver a rapid return on investment (ROI). That's why we leverage best-of-breed technology and in-house expertise to not only quantify, but also maximize the results of your interactive marketing campaigns. Using our vast knowledge in web analytics, we provide key metrics - like click-though rates to your website and conversion rates of customers - to help guide you in making effective business decisions.
In web-based marketing, attracting qualified leads to your site is the name of the game. Psycray's Natural Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search Engine Marketing Services focuses on driving quality traffic to your website. Combine this with our web analytics services, and you will be able to attract targeted visitors and to understand exactly why your traffic is increasing.
Psycray's employees are experts in providing web analytics software and services. We have over 9 years of experience in providing web analytics solutions to businesses.
Psycray can help you in the following areas:
- Selection and implementation of web analytics software
- Customization of web analytics software
- Identification of your website's Key Performance Indicators
- Most web analytics applications have over 100 reports available to you. A lot of the reports provided have little to no value. We help you determine the value-adding reports that will contribute to the success of your site.
- Creation of web business report templates
- Once we have helped you determine your key performance indicators, the next step is to implement a reporting system that enables you to efficiently produce the reports. We can design report templates that allow you to easily extract the most pertinent statistics from your web analytics application. These reports provide all the information needed to be sent straight to the proper decision makers.
- We will provide detailed instructions on how to complete the report based on the report templates and your specific web analytics application.
- Interpretation of web statics
- Training in web analytics applications and report interpretation
- Psycray can come on-site and train your staff in web analytics and how to use the analysis software that you have chosen. Further, we can train your staff in how to interpret web site statistics and how to apply them to their business goals.
- Advertising testing including A/B and A/B/A testing
- Customer behavior analysis
- Web analytics can tell you a lot about your customers' profile. Regardless of the type of website that you have, there is always a benefit derived from understanding your customers' behavior analysis.
- Analysis of the main keywords customers are using to find your website.