Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Using Google Analytics on Your Craft Site

I mentioned Google Analytics in a previous post and wanted to expand on that topic today. If you are using a regular web host for your crft site or blog, the odds are you have some kind of website statistic program through your host. If not, you may want to use Google Analytics to track your site's statistics.

Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google. It is easy to sign up and use on your website. When you sign up you are given a small code that you paste into your blog template or web pages.

After you have correctly added the code to your site, you will be able to track your site statistics from that day forward. Google Analytics updates your site statistics every 24 hours, so you only have to wait a day to start receiving valuable traffic information.

So, are you wandering what good this does for your craft site? The information gained from Analytics can help you better tailor your site to meet the interests of your readers which in turn will lead to more targeted traffic. Google Analytics provides you with the following site statistics on your own dashboard.

Visitors - You can learn how long visitors stay on your site, whether they are new or returning and what part of the world they visited from. There is a great deal more visitor trend information included, but I think it is very important to learn whether or not you are getting new or returning visitors.

Ideally you should have a both. If your site statistics indicate a very small number of return visitors, that means you are not providing what your visitors are looking for. Too small a number of new visitors would mean you ought to be doing a better job of marketing your site.

Traffic Sources - There is a ton of helpful traffic source information that you can use. Referring sites (sites that link to yours) are listed, as well as which search engines sent you traffic. You can find out what search terms people enter in search engines to find your site.

This is very helpful information if you want to increase traffic. Studying your keyword stats can help you figure out what your visitors are looking for. Keep in mind that although people may find your site for a specific keyword, that doesn't necessarily mean they found what they were looking for.

One of the most useful features of Google Analytics is the information included with the keywords. It lets you know the average time spent on your sites and number of page views for each keyword term.

If you find that a number of people are finding your site for a particular keyword, but they are not spending time on your site, that is a good indication that they are not finding what they are looking for. You can capitalize on this information by providing additional pages or posts on that particular subject.

Content - Google Analytics will tell you what your top content pages are, what your top entry and exist pages are and a site overlay that shows you a breakdown of what links people are clicking on while on your site.

This is of great value in determining what you are doing right and wrong with your content writing. When you take a look your most successful page (posts) and compare them to your least successful one, you can look for the differences. Evaluating those differences can help you build better and more successful pages in the future.

This is just a brief overview of some of the features Google Analytics offers. I don't think it is a good idea to get too wrapped up in statistics, but they certainly can help if you are looking to improve your site.

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