Web Tools to Help You Micromanage

February 18, 2010

I use two different services to track statistics on my Web pages. Using either Google Analytics or StatCounter, I can keep track of any information related to the traffic, or visitors, that come to my site. It's very sophisticated software, yet easy to use, and it's free. It allows you to micromanage.

I use two different services to track statistics on my Web pages. Using either Google Analytics or StatCounter, I can keep track of any information related to the traffic, or visitors, that come to my site. It's very sophisticated software, yet easy to use, and it's free. It allows you to micromanage.

If you own a Web site, analyzing the traffic to your site can give you some valuable insights about your visitors. To state it another way, you can get an idea of what people like and don't like about your Web site. Here are a few data points to keep an eye on:

Unique and return visitors - This is some basic information that simply tells you how many new visitors you are getting to your Web site. Usually the number reflects the number of new visitors over the last, say, 30 days. Return visitors are also important; that number reflects how many loyal readers you have. Both are important. New visitors tell you if you are marketing correctly and returning readers let you know if you are providing content (on your Web page, that is) that interests people.

You can tell the country/state/city of origin, Web browser used, how they learned of your site, etc. You can even know the IP address of the computer used to visit your Web site. This is helpful if you are concerned about building a local following, say, for a medical practice.

Length of stay - On average, a person browsing on the Web, takes fewer than three seconds to decide if they should stay on, or leave, a Web page. Traffic data can tell you how long a visitor stayed, the average time spent on your web site and even what they liked to read. For instance, I know that my average visitor spends almost three minutes looking at something on my blog. I also know they read 1.92 articles each visit. This means that most people are pretty interested in the blog.

Popular articles - I can tell the top 10 articles read on my blog. This gives me a great idea of what subjects to write about again, and which to avoid. I am awful in predicting which articles will be a hit. By knowing what my readers like to read, I can publish content more directed to their interests. This would not be possible without tracking data.

Real-time data - You have the ability to monitor the activity of every visitor to your Web site in real time. You don't have to wait until the next week, next month or even the next day.

Exit/entry data - This can give you an idea of what attracted a person to your site and where they were on your site when they decided to leave. What got their attention and what turned them off?

Keyword data - What keywords are commonly used to search for you? This is extremely helpful in writing articles to gain SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking, placing AdWords campaigns, and describing what you do.

Search engines - Similar to keywords, you also learn the popular search engines used to bring the traffic to you. You'll be surprised how much difference there can be between the popular search engines. If I find success with a particular search engine, I'll try and maximize my SEO for that engine. When you find you are doing something right, stick to it!

So what does this mean? There are free tools for you to analyze any aspect of your Web page. This is no different than paying a consultant to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your office staff. You stress about the quality of your "front line," that is, the people that answer your phones and greet patients as they arrive. Your Web page is no different.

By analyzing the many aspects of your traffic, you can easily gain the insights needed to turn them into patients. Best of all, the information is free, there is no catch, and it's not watered down. It's what Google does and what Web 2.0 means: open access.