Trying to understand your web visitors by guessing can be confusing and produces little to no results. Each individual has its own set of data being collected, measured, analyzed and reported. You need a software that can track these down and simplify it in an easy-to-read report.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there that can do just that. But before we dig into these tools, let's start by explaining Web Analytics.
Web Analytics Explained
Web Analytics can be defined as:
To drive continual improvement of the online experience of your prospects and consumers.
To form a qualitative and quantitative data from your website and your competition.
To translate these data into a desired outcome.
Web analytics is a three tiered data delivery and analysis service. The first tier is the data itself. This measure traffic, page views, and clicks from your website and to your direct competitors. The second all comes to you. What are you going to do with these data and how you use it depends on the success of the website. The final tier is how it comes all together to meet your overall business objectives.
How to make best use of a Web Analytics service
However, these web analytics services are merely just a tool. It is your job to implement it properly. So, here are some tips on how you can make use of these web analytics services better:
Define clear objectives of your specific business first. Without a clear set of goal or objectives, even the best web analytics service out there can't help you.
Make wise budget decisions. Focus more money on people, not the tools. Expensive tools can't help you if there's no one to implement it properly.
Figure out your call to action. Online conversion relies on call to action, so take your time in finding the best CTAs to use and how you can effectively use it.
Determine your target demographic. It is best to narrow the scope of your target demographic than trying to compete with the international market. Your best target demographic is the location where your business is at.
Do a lot of A/B testing. This is the best way to target your customers, determine what they really want and figure out the best way to get conversions.
Do something with the data. Figure out your actions based on the reports and the data gathered; otherwise web analytics will be useless.
Now that you've gone through the basics, let's take a look at some of the best web analytics today.
Google Analytics (free)
[caption id="attachment_3074" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Google Analytics[/caption]
Google Analytics is one of the best free tools any website can use to track and analyze web traffic. The tool also lets you measure sales and conversions and gives you fresh insights on how to keep them coming back. You get to see what keywords are bringing most visitors to your page and what aspects of your page are turning them off.
Google Analytics is geared towards business owners who are serious about marketing their business. With the concise information found in this software, expect to get a better return on investment, increase in conversions; thus make more money on the web. It is perfect not only for people starting a website but for businesses that wants to fine tune their advertisements and increase conversion on their website.
Visit Google Analytics.
Open Web Analytics (free)
[caption id="attachment_3085" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Open Web Analytics[/caption]
Open Web Analytics is an open source web analytics software that is a great alternative to Google Analytics. The software features a great user interface that organizes in to different statistics for your reference. There are various statistics to be viewed such as geo-location, web analytics, search terms, search engines, ad performance, etc.
[caption id="attachment_3086" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Piwik[/caption]
Piwik is an open source free web analytics tool pretty much like Open Web Analytics. Piwik provides a similar dataset to Google Analytics, but with emphasis on the open source nature of the project.
Piwik is a downloadable software that you can install on your web server. It is a five minute process and once installation to the server is done, you can get started immediately.
Mint ($30 one-time fee)
[caption id="attachment_3088" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mint[/caption]
Mint is the only tool in this list that you have to pay once for. Charging an upward fee of $30 per site with no recurring costs, this has got to be our favorite web analytics tool as it beats even those that charge a very low monthly rate.
Not just the price, mint has extensive functionality. Everything is well-designed and modular. Each module is referred to as "Pepper" and you can change these peppers to your liking. However, out of the block, Mint's default "peppers" offer basic analytics functionality that everyone is familiar with.
Mint is an extensible application. If you visit the "Peppermill" there is a diverse range of "Peppers" made by Mint developers, and third party contributors. An example of a useful pepper is the "Real Estate" which tracks the size of your visitor's browser windows.
Clicky ($9.99 per month)
[caption id="attachment_3089" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Clicky[/caption]
One of the cool feature of Clicky is the Twitter monitor. This feature lets you monitor 5 keywords on Twitter and breaks it down into links, questions, retweets, replies, and keeps track of your sender, recipients, and tags. Clicky is also available on iPhone which means you can monitor your site even when on the move.
Clicky is free for 1 site with a limit of 3,000 page views and comes with all the basic features. If you need more than that, you can get one for as low as $9.99 per month.
Chartbeat ($299 per month)
[caption id="attachment_3091" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Chartbeat[/caption]
Chartbeat lets the users get the most of their data through real time information. This software keeps a constant watch of your visitors and see what they are doing on your website. This gives you the information you need in order to make adjustments as you see fit.
Chartbeat is available for $299 per month, but you can try the software for free before subscribing to the service.
Kissmetrics ($200 monthly)
[caption id="attachment_3092" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Kissmetrics[/caption]
Kissmetrics allows you to track the movements of your visitors throughout your website. Kissmetrics lets you see how these behaviors change over time, identify your visitor's browsing patterns and how they interact in your webise, and see your referrers.
Kissmetrics has a view of your visitor activity in a timeline view setting that is easy to pleasing to the eyes and easy to understand. Kissmetrics is a very effective tool for understanding funnel conversions and for tracking user behavior on a multi-session basis.
Pricing starts at $200 per month, which is great for new sites and up to $2000 per month which is excellent for established businesses.
[caption id="attachment_3192" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Parse.ly[/caption]
Parse.ly Dash is another web analytics tool that is targeted at publishers, so this might not be the best analytics tool for an e-commerce site. However, what is great about Parese.ly is that it uses the data aggregated from publisher's websites to provide specific information about how the content, author contributions, and publishers are contributing to your site's overall traffic.
By parsing through articles and content, Parse.ly can sort through 5 billion monthly page views, and 160 million monthly online visitors and make recommendations through the dashboard. You can compare using published posts, articles, social shares, etc. It helps you figure out the popular topics to use and have a basis for future articles based not just on your site, but also on the worldwide trends.
The real-time feature is probabably what sets Parse.ly apart from the rest. It lets you begin analytics metrics right away. This tool also has an impressive dashboard which gives you everything you need at first glance. Parse.ly is very easy to setup and reports are emailed to you on a recurring basis.
Woopra ($79 monthly)
[caption id="attachment_3193" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Woopra[/caption]
Woopra is another web analytics provider with tons of features. The service provides real time customer analytics, funnel analysis, and event tracking. It is very well suited to startups since it has clever triggers that lets you segment customers; thus, giving a more accurate data.
Woopra offers a visual way to break down real time metrics and since it is stored nicely into funnels, you can use these data to make decisions in the future. This has been a problem with most web analytics tools, which thankfully Woopra lets you do not just that, but also lets you dig further to your customer's patterns and behaviors.
Woopra is free for up to 30,000 actions per month, but if you need more a monthly cost of $79 for the basic plan will suffice as it has 400,000 actions per month.
Keeping track of your site and traffic is very important especially if you treat your site as your business. Targeting leads and prospects won't be effective without a solid basis on where to put your marketing efforts to.
So find a good web analytics software, try it out, then measure your success. With these software you can figure out your strenghts, weaknesses, tweak it according to the needs of your business and get them moving to the right direction.