One of the best programs available to analyze the success or failure of your website is Google Analytics. Not only can it show you how many people visit your website each day, but it can show you where they came from, how many pages they visited on your website and how long they stayed. Why is all this important? Because it affects your profits!
Analytics can show you how many people came from each search engines, what phrases they used to find your website and also how long they stayed. Visitors from the search engines are basically "Free Advertising" and so it's important to see how they got to your website (are there opportunities to rank for related phrases) and find ways to keep them longer.
Analytics can also show you how many people came from free online directories like DMOZ.org and what words they found you listed under. Again, this offers you opportunities to see if there are more phrases your website could be listed under on these directories.
If you are doing any type of sponsored links on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc... it's important to look and see not just how many people came to your website from these "Paid Advertisements" but also whether they stayed a short time and went to few pages (Not a buyer) or stayed a long time, went to a lot of pages and then went to your contact page or shopping cart (More likely to be a buyer). Just because some one clicked on your sponsored listing does not mean they liked your website or your products. You should use analytics to compare the people who enter your website from sponsored links to those who enter from the search engines. If you see that the people from search engines are staying much longer, going to more pages and visiting the contact page and shopping cart much more often than the people from the shopping cart then this might be an indication to reduce the money you spend on sponsored links (Or to change the words you are listed under) and to spend more money in other places (Such as expanding the size of your website) so you rank for more phrases in Google.
Newspaper and Television
One of the things that we specialize in is helping out clients to analyze their cost per click for their paid advertising. And Analytics is the perfect tool to do that. For instance we had clients who were paying the local newspapers and television stations thousands of dollars a month to advertise on the newspaper and television station websites. What we showed them that they were only getting a few visitors a month from these sites and that their cost was a high as $500 per person for each person coming from these advertisements. Our clients then cancelled their advertisements and shifted that money to something that actually made them money.
Online Phone Books and Paid Directories
It's unbelievable what some of the phone companies are charging to advertise on their websites. Yes, we have found a few clients who benefited on this... But the majority were paying and arm and a leg and we few that almost no one was coming from these "Paid Advertisements". One of the cool things about Google Analytics is that it will show you exactly how many people did or did not come from these paid advertising sites. Then you can decide to spend more or less based on what you see.
What we have to say about Google Analytics is that it offers you almost unlimited information about your visitors. Not just how many, but how long each type of visitor stayed and how many pages they visited. It will also show you the locations your visitors are coming from which can be important if you sell only in a limited area.
Google Analytics is free and we install it on all of our clients sites and then teach "you" how to use it.
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