Web Traffic Monitoring
Once you have invested the time, money and effort to build a company website, it is important to maximize the ways in which your website is improving your business. How do you know if your marketing campaigns are paying off? Are those search engine keywords working to bring new clients to your website? Are your affiliated partners helping you gain new customers? And where is your target customer base located?
These are all questions that web traffic analysis can help you answer. With a better understanding of your website effectiveness, you can write better-targeted ads to focus on your best markets, as well as engage and convert more visitors to your business.
How Web Traffic Analysis Can Help Your Business
Registering a domain name and putting up a website is the first step to marketing your company on the Internet, not the last. Once your website is open to the public, you need to measure its effectiveness in bringing in clients and boosting your profits. Web traffic analytics are designed for this very purpose. Depending on which web traffic analytics program you use, you can utilize a wide range of programs and functions based on your needs and goals.
Most likely, you decided to build a company website in the first place as a marketing strategy, to give your business wider exposure to potential clients through the Internet. You may have chosen one or more of a number of marketing strategies, including purchasing search engine keywords and using referrers, directories, advertising sites and banners, and/or email campaigns. But how do you know which of these marketing strategies are actually working and giving you the best return on your marketing investment?
Web traffic analysis helps you get the best ROI (Return On Investment) by tracking sales and conversions through email campaigns, banner ads, offline ads and more. The traffic analysis programs can trace transactions to campaigns and keywords, get loyalty and latency metrics, and identify your best revenue sources. They can also optimize performance of search engine keywords, such as Google Adwords, with post-click data on your keywords, search queries, match type and more.
With detailed reports on the performance of your current marketing methods, you can improve future marketing strategies by focusing on the highest-performing investments, and tailor your advertising by using the most effective keywords and targeting the highest-concentrated customer locations.
Another aspect of ensuring successful online marketing is the design, layout, and content of your website. There are a number of factors that go into having a successful website, but the most important goal is usually to attract and retain clients. How do you know if the website you have built is doing the job it is supposed to do: converting clients?
Web traffic analysis answers this question by tracking and reporting visitor information such as page views, duration of stay on a particular page, click-paths, and entry and exit pages. You can utilize these reports to see not only how visitors found and entered your website, but how long they stay on the site, which parts of the websites are most interesting to them, and at which point visitors leave the site. This information is helpful as you maintain and update your website to focus on the areas that are most appealing to visitors, and modify those parts that are less successful.
In addition to measuring marketing success, it is also important to make sure that your website is up and running smoothly. It is critical that clients and potential clients who are interested in your company have constant and easy access to your website. Most web analytics companies also provide site monitoring services, which keep track of your website downtime, connect times, and alerts you via email or phone if your website goes offline for any reason, especially during unplanned emergencies.
Choosing a Web Traffic Analytics Program
The two prevailing companies providing web traffic analytics are currently Google (through its Google Analytics application) and Web-stat.com. While they offer many similar tracking and reporting services, there are some marked differences between the two services.
Like many other Google applications, Google Analytics is a free* but relatively basic web traffic monitoring and reporting application. Its main features include:
- Advertising ROI – as described above, this function tracks sales and conversions by tracing visitors to email campaigns, banner ads, offline ads, search engine keywords, and loyalty and revenue sources.
- Cross Channel and Multimedia Tracking – Google Analytics also offers mobile tracking, internal site search, benchmarking, and Flash, video and social network application tracking.
- Customized Reporting – Users can choose highly customized and segmented reporting based on custom variables and using advanced data analysis tools. Data exporting and integrations with external applications are also available. In addition, analytics intelligence monitors reports and sends alerts to changes in data patterns. Report formats include motion charts, geo-targeting, funnels, spark lines, and score cards.
- Sharing and Communications – Users can control how sensitive data is shared and which reports are available to users on their account, as well as schedule or send ad-hoc personalized report emails.
- Integration with other Google applications, such as AdWords and AdSense, as well as third party applications.
*Google Analytics allows up to 5 million page views per month for no charge. Page views are unlimited for users who also have an active AdWords account.
Web-Stat offers similar web traffic analysis, advertising ROI tracking, and customized reporting services as Google Analytics. Web-Stat also measures conversions, referrers, search engine keywords, site entries and exits, file uploads and Flash sites, and sends customized reports to its users. However, Web-Stat differs from Google Analytics in some significant ways.
Live Traffic Analysis
Unlike Google Analytics, which only offers pattern reports from designated time periods, Web-Stat also offers live traffic analysis. This means that not only can users look for patterns from past time periods, they can also follow visitors as they travel inside their website – in real time. Every time someone visits your site, Web-Stat can see where they are located, which pages they visit, how long they stay, etc. When you log into your Web-Stat account, you will get live information as to who is currently on your site, who has been there, what pages they have looked at, and how they found your site.
Independence from other Google Applications
Generally, it is recommended that you use a third party to measure the results of your advertising campaigns. Many people promote their websites by advertising with Google AdWords, which helps business place ads using keywords and the Google search engine. However, if you use Google Analytics to measure the success rate of your AdWords campaign, you are using the same company to both sell you the advertisements and measure their return. Web-Stat is independent from Google and can do you web traffic analysis without conflict of interest.
Web-Stat also offers another unique service: Web-Stat Watchdog. This feature monitors not only the content of your website, but how smoothly it is run. Watchdog keeps track of factors such as your site’s downtime and average connect time within a specified time period. If your site goes offline for any reason, especially during unforeseen emergencies, Watchdog will send you an alert via email or cell phone. This feature is essential for ensuring that current and potential clients can access your site easily and quickly at all times.
Keep in mind that because Google Analytics is free, but Web-Stat offers independent analysis and unique features, users can choose to use both services at the same time.
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About The Author
Robert Kowalski is a seasoned incorporator and business filing specialist with over 10 years experience consulting emerging companies with their business filing needs. Robert served as the chief editor and one of the top contributors to Answers @ MyUSACorporation.com.