Without Analytics, You Might As Well Be Working In The Dark

Posted by Nitin Aggarwal - February 10, 2011 - Analytics - 11 Comments

Have you ever tried running in the dark? I know you can’t – I have tried. It is the same with running a website. If you don’t know what is happening inside your site, you won’t be able to steer it towards success. Unfortunately, very few of us tend to pay attention to analytics and depend on guesswork and intuition. But, it need not be that way. With some free analytic tools you can know how the clock ticks inside your website.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great tool which you as a website owner or master must use to gather information about the traffic coming into your site. This free tool provides you with all the information you need about visitors coming to your site. It will help you in knowing where your visitors come from and how they behave when inside your site. You can even analyze the pages each person visits, buttons which they click and the path of exit. You can get fine grained information about the region from where your visitors arrive and even the exact IP of their network. Google Analytics is an awesome tool to understand the dynamics of a website.

I have known web masters who spend the entire day analyzing their traffic. But, what’s more important is to respond effectively and fine tune your site. Here is great example of how a website managed to change the profile of visitors, using Google Analytics. For a website I worked for earlier, I found that the traffic was coming mostly from Asian countries whereas the owner wanted an American audience.  I found that most of the images used were Oriental which we later changed, giving it an American look.  I was not surprised to find that we started getting more traffic from US and Europe. We even changed the content to suit American taste. This is what I call proactive adaptation. Without Analytics we would never have known about our traffic, let alone modify our web strategy.

Alexa Ranking

This is another huge site for gathering information about web traffic. I have used it to find out more about my competitors. Once, traffic to my site jumped dramatically without any reason. When I went to Alexa I found that my rival’s traffic was down to zero – possibly because their servers had gone down. Without Alexa we would never have known the reason for this sudden upsurge in traffic – probably we would have celebrated our success with a glass of Sherry, thinking we had arrived, only to realize later that we are back to our old numbers.

Analytics is therefore critical to see what is going on inside our website and plan into the future. Running a website without Analytics is as good as groping in the dark.

About the Author

Nitin Aggarwal

Nitin Aggarwal started the company Offshore Ally which is now one of the leading providers of virtual assistant and link building services online. When his business is not keeping him busy, he likes to spend his time blogging. Connect with him via Twitter.
11 comments
Nonoy Avellanosa
Nonoy Avellanosa

Google analytics is okay, but this tool is the same as other tracking tools on the Net such as Feedjit, statcounter, and histats. These tools are even much easier than Google Analytics to see all the stats and behavior of the site. Well, this is just based on my experience so far. Please convince me what analytics can do more and how can it can me more convenient. My recent post How to Reach Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Daveg
Daveg

Checking for traffic is one thing, but I'd argue it's more important to be sure every page has the tracking code properly installed so you can monitor clicks through the site. This type of tracking can help identify usability issues. A 3000% increase in traffic is meaningless if they click off your home page because they don't know how to navigate the site.

@americascorp
@americascorp

Very valuable tips!!! Analytics is critical in determining how your website is faring on the internet. The information in this posting is important for everyone. Don't be left in the dark! Linda Kay Holden http://www.americascorp.com

FranA
FranA

Hey Nitin: Good post here about Google Analytic. Almost everyone who has a site uses it. But improving the site by watching the tracking is not done by every body. I will start looking at that now. Thanks for a good read. Have an awesome weekend Fran A

danielgsnyder
danielgsnyder

Hey, well you are providing a valid truth here - we need analytics, but how about some inside tips on how to better optimize sites based on analytics... a little more tips and advice?

iPhone 5
iPhone 5

Rightly said, I've started using Google analytics just a week before and now i know how its results matter as now i know the area on which i should pay more time and content. By getting to know from which country the maximum traffic comes even gives a +ve way ahead. My recent post Some Big Rumors About the iPhone 5

Syed
Syed

An analytics tool that I use (besides Google Analytics) is the REF Code Analytics (http://www.9thsphere.com/refcode-analytics.html) - it's an analytics tool that helps you if you are a business or a company that needs to measure leads coming from your website. But sometimes a visitor can come to your website and contact you without filling any submission forms, instead they can call you directly. This tool can let you measure the effectiveness of your website design and the number of conversions you get not through those leads who come to your website and instead of signing up for a form - they find your number and then directly call you. These are leads and conversions that most tracking tools will not be able to calculate for you. You can read more about it by searching for it on Google.

Daniel Sharkov
Daniel Sharkov

Hey Nitin, I absolutely agree with you that running a blog or a website without ever paying attention to your analytics data isn't a good idea. Checking your rankings frequently enough is a must, because you need to know whether you are doing something right or wrong. A drop in your visitors or decrease in time on site figures are both clear indication of a problem. On the other hand seeing positive results can have a motivational impact and that is a key component in every undertaking. My recent post 10 Ways to Build a Successful Fan Page for Your Blog

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Good Points Daniel. Personally I think rankings are just a metric to keep management happy. If they see they rank #1 in Google for a keyword, they think they are doing well. But there are so many more factors to look at besides if you rank for a term.

TrafficColeman
TrafficColeman

I use both of these free tools each day to not only see how my site is stacking up, but also measure my clients sites against the competition. "Black Seo Guy "Signing Off" My recent post Traffic Exchanges Can Bring in 300k Visitors A Month