Whether you hope to earn ad revenue or you're just curious about your customers' shopping habits, Google Analytics is a fantastic and free way to track and analyze activity on your own website. Page view counters are outdated and tacky; today's website builders and owners are more subtle, collecting view counts and user data behind the scenes. But why should you take this extra step and add Google Analytics to your own website?
Simple to use, even for the beginner
When you sign up for a free Analytics account, Google gives you a customized code in return for your original URL. You can use SIte123 to easily paste this within your website's code, and that's all you have to do. Google will now enjoy invisible access to your website, collecting precise data about each visit and each IP address that's used to access it. If everything was installed properly, you can then log into your Google Analytics account each day - separately from your web design or web host account - and view a variety of precise, useful data.
Learn who you're reaching (and not reaching)
One of the most prominent features on the Google Analytics home screen is a pie graph that denotes the percentages of new vs. returning visitors. A big percentage of returning visitors is good news for the blogger or online retailer; you're continuing to attract new views, increasing your opportunities to profit. However, if you run a service company or a brick-and-mortar establishment, your website might be a form of advertisement more than anything else. You want visitors and newcomers to find you during their searches for a good local business. Luckily, if you're not drawing in very many new visitors, Google Analytics will tell you immediately. It will also tell you exactly who you actually are reaching, listing everything from native language to location, service provider, and even screen resolution.
Putting Google Analytics data to good use
This invaluable service gives you the ability to quickly analyze behaviors that you might not have considered otherwise. For example, if the bounce rate (or rate at which new visitors immediately leave your website) seems to increase for users with certain mobile devices or operating systems, you might want to work on your browser compatibility or tweak your format to be more readable. This very detailed information is presented via dozens of separate pages and graphs, and you can spend hours navigating through the comparisons, trends, and suggestions that Google compiles. You can also opt into additional reports, such as "affinity categories" and "in-market segments". These are useful if you want to reach a certain target demographic or appeal to certain interests. However, when you enable these complex features, your tracking code changes and you must re-submit it via SITE123.
The modern website is capable of reaching more people than ever before. It can also discreetly collect data about these people, giving you a better handle on the patterns, search engine queries, referral links, and demographics with which you're having the most success. Harness the power of Google Analytics to build your website and watch it blossom.
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