The New Web Counters – Google Analytics

Tracking Users

Clients often ask me about adding web counters to their web sites. When the Web first came out people would have numbers at the bottom of their pages showing how many visitors had visited the page. The trouble with this was that often these people would have their web site as their main browser page throughout the company. Then, every time an employee would open up a browser the page counter would be updated, giving skewed results.

All of has changed with the availability of new tools such as Google Analytics.

Here’s how it works: You sign up with Google and add a few lines of JavaScript to the bottom of each web site. Then, each time a person views the page Google tracks the usage. On the Google Analytics site you can log into your account and view charts and graphs and maps showing who has visited your site. You can also block specific IP addresses so you don’t have skewed results from your own company. In addition, if you set up landing pages (specific pages your advertising or marketing send people to for specific products/services) you can track how effective your campaigns are. For example, I have a landing page for my Web I programming class. Instead of sending people to our Computer Careers home page I send them directly to http://southcentral.edu/cc/web1 On this page the can (1) read a summary of the course (2) go to a registration page (3) send me an email question. Google Analytics allows me to track which decision people take which in turn helps me refine my marketing efforts.

Google Analytics also tells you the difference between new visits and when a person moves from page to page on your web site.

Paul Boag also lists some good tools you can use for this on his blog http://boagworld.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=20 . His information as well as the feedback from his users will give you some other web stat tools that can help you judge how effective your web site is.


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