Website development is time-consuming – selecting a domain name, web hosting, designing a website, getting relevant content. So website statistics are essential to every webmaster as they provide an indication of the number of visitors to the website, the source of visitors, and other relevant website-related information. There are a number of programs available that provide the insight the webmaster needs on the website statistics and may be broadly classified into 2 categories, server-side and client-side. Server-side web statistics programs like Awstats are by default provided by almost all web hosting companies to their customers while Awstats provides fairly accurate information about the visitors to a website sent to a website by a search engine and the keywords used, it is often not very accurate for measuring the total number of visitors as it includes a number of bots and non-human visitors to the website.
This shortcoming has resulted in the increased popularity of Google Analytics as a tool to measure the exact number of visitors to a website. When websites are listed for sale at marketplaces like Flippa, Google Analytics is often used to accurately quantify the number of visitors.
Some tips on How to Use Google Analytics to Get Helpful Insights are:
1. The number of human visitors to a website – this is necessary as it helps the webmaster decide the monetization options to be used. Most advertising networks need a minimum number of visitors to the website to accept a website. For e-commerce websites, the number of visitors is directly proportional to the number of sales. If an e-commerce website has no visitors, the webmaster will have to devise a strategy to increase the visitor count.
2. Geographic location of visitors – country, state, city – If an e-commerce websites ships to specific regions only, this information is particularly significant.
3. Origin of the visitors, whether the visitors were sent free from search engines, direct type in, from links or from paid sources like PPC advertising, banner advertising. These statistics can be used to measure the effectiveness of a SEO campaign or PPC campaign.
4. Keywords used by the visitor if the visitor was sent by search engines as e-commerce websites would like rank high for the products which they sell.
5. The time spent by the visitor on the website – this is also an indication of whether the visitor has found the website useful.
6. The website pages visited
7. Conversion rates – whether the visitor makes a purchase, provides leads
Google Analytics can be installed by adding the website to the Google webmaster account and verifying the ownership. However, many users have found that the number of users reported using Google Analytics are significantly lower than the visitor count provided by other similar web statistics tools. Another problem faced by webmasters who add multiple websites to their Google webmaster account to use Google Analytics, is that all the websites get de-indexed at one time from Google, effectively losing all the free search engine visitors from Google, though these may be quality websites by most definitions.
It is hoped that this brief guide on how to use Google Analytics to get helpful insights, highlights the advantages and disadvantages of this analytic tool.