The Google Analytics Free Website Tracking System

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Many of us have faced the daunting task of understanding our website traffic. Google has a free service called “Analytics” which was built for marketers and doesn’t require detailed technical knowledge. Google Analytics dashboard gives an overview of search engine referrals, pay per click advertisements, email marketing, etc.

Google offers customization, drag and drop interfaces with over 80 types of reports. Examine several reporting features and see the amazing flexibility of this free website tracking system. Goal Conversion Reports: Retail goals may consist of converting more shoppers to buyers.

Set parameters and track success rates. Non-commercial websites can also meet business objectives. Funnel Reports: A funnel is your steps to fulfillment, after your call to action. If you are in the lodging industry, your goal is to get people from the landing page through the booking page.

Google will show you how many people enter your funnel, what your abandonment rate percentage is, and how many people complete the process. Understand where performance is falling through within your website structure. Bounce Rate Reports: A bounce is when a visitor come to your landing page and then goes off to another website.

If your bounce rate is 90% your not meeting your visitors needs. A bounce rate of 40% is considered normal in Google Ad Word buys. Entrance Path Reports: An entrance path is the navigation path used by visitors to reach your goal.

If you are a 501 c 3 for example, this report would show you which page a person was on when they clicked over to make a donation. This report makes it easy to analyze which calls to action are working. Benchmark Reports: You have to opt-in to get benchmark reports.

Once you do, Google will compare your website to other websites of approximately the same size and in your industry segment. Bench marking enables you to compare yourself to industry standards. To start up a Google Analytics account, assuming you don’t already have one, go to the website:

http://www.google.com/analytics/ and fill in the appropriate information. Google will ask you to verify website ownership by posting a uniquely named web-page to your site. Within 24 hours of your post, Google will confirm and give you tracking code to place on your website or websites.

After confirmation, go into your analytics account and click “view report.” Important links on the left are for Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content and Goals. The Content section quickly graphs the top view pages, amount of time spent viewing content, exit pages, landing pages and click volume.

Click Volume will help you to identify and re position valuable links. Google stores 25 months of data. You can compare two different time ranges. There is a date range picker near the top right corner of your screen. There is also a check box that says “Compare to Past.” Check this option. There are limitations to Analytics.

Google can be blocked by users who don’t accept cookies ( a tiny java script code that tracks visitors through their browsers). Google is also not able to collect data from mobile applications; phones and PDA’s. Be sure your website has a Privacy Policy that explains how information is collected and used.

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