Web Analytics For Fun And Profit

If you’ve already installed conversion tracking for your PPC accounts, and you’re looking for a more robust solution for tracking user activity, there are plenty of options available, most of them free. If you’re willing to put in a little time and effort into adding some additional code to your site, you’ll reap major rewards in terms of useful information that can be used to further optimize your account.

For all of my clients, I recommend that they install Google Analytics on their site. It can be kind of a pain to install (you need to copy and paste a javascript code snippet on every page of your site – if you have a site template you can save a lot of time), but once it’s in there are lots of really cool things you can do to extend its functionality. I’ll leave all the bells and whistles for another post, but even Google Analytics’ basic functionality covers most of what you need to look at to determine site visitor trends. Traffic data is broken down between paid and non-paid (organic) traffic, and you even get a pretty sophisticated breakdown of traffic sources by search engine, geographical location, and web browser. I could write a whole lot more about Google Analytics, but in order to do it justice I’ll be breaking functionality down in individual blog posts – there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Another free analytics package that’s caught my eye is Woopra. It has a similar functionality to Google Analytics, but the main difference is that Woopra can monitor visitors in real-time, while Google Analytics tends to have a lag time of several hours when tracking visitor data. Woopra can even let you chat with visitors as they visit your site, which I admit is a little creepy (though a really cool idea nonetheless).

A quick Google search will no doubt uncover a multitude of free (as in freedom) and “free” (as in “there’s a catch”) analytics solutions. In my experience, Google Analytics does the trick just fine with minimal effort. Stay tuned for more cool stuff to do with Google Analytics in future posts.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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