In this day and age, with the many opportunities to go into business for yourself out there, many of us have taken the initiative to start our own business and build our own Web site.
With technology playing an integral part in everyone’s lives these days, it’s imperative to have a “point of contact” when giving people information about your business. The popular questions asked by potential customers/clients are not so much, “What’s your address and telephone number?” But more like, “What’s your Facebook name and Web site address?” Therefore it’s crucial for a small businesses to be easily found on the Internet.
Whether you built your own site or outsourced it, it is still unique to you and what you represent, so it’s crucial to have proper content relative to what you are promoting, easy functionality when navigating throughout the site, and a call to action on your page.
Once you have all this in place, the important thing is getting people to your site. Obviously it’s best when people link directly to you, however, with all of the search engines out there, people are bound to just type in you or your company’s name and hope that your Web site pops up.
In a perfect world it will and all will be fine. But how can you track all of that? With my own Web site, the hosting company offers me visitor tracking, which is great. It tells me things such as how many hits, visits and page views the site gets. The site itself was very easy to build; I did it all myself. You can check it out at gotowhitney.com. OK, shameless plug, but relevant.
At a recent conference I attended, a colleague of mine asked me if I heard about Google Analytics. He told me that he uses it for his Web site and it not only tracks how many hits, unique visitors and average time people spend on his site, but it will even break down the statistics to each state and then down to the specific city. How cool is that?
From that point on I was sold. First of all, it’s free — yes, free for anyone with a Web site, even if you don’t have a Gmail account. All you have to do is go to google.com/analytics and sign up.
With the stats from Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and modify your site to help attract more hits.
All I had to do was copy a link that Google instantly created for me, and then paste it into each page I wanted tracked on my Web site. At first I thought I did it wrong because my statistics said “0” for a while, but then all of a sudden it started tracking. It was really easy. I was so impressed with this that I thought it was something all of us savvy small business owners out there should know about — if you haven’t heard of it already.
When I posed the question: “What is your opinion on Google Analytics?” on my Facebook page, answers included: “Probably the best Web site analytic tool there is” and “It’s free! It’s powerful! Why wouldn’t anybody take advantage of it?”
A tech expert who I know, but wishes to remain anonymous, told me that Google Analytics is “a pretty reliable tool.” There is no major reason to distrust the data it provides, he said. The technical approach to data collection that the product employs is fairly fool proof and it’s safe to rely on the tracking data for general metrics and guidance. When I asked him about any major disadvantages, he said that the data is not available for 24 hours. Currently there are tools available that provide data in real time, but Google Analytics is always 24 hours old. For some companies that may be an important factor.
Bottom line, if you want detailed tracking down to the city a person linked to your site from, to the actual search engine they used, to even the key search terms used in those engines, then you should check this out and add it to your site.
As a freelance writer, Whitney's columns were published in multiple press outlets including: GoJaneNews.com The Atlantic City Weekly New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine & The Boardwalk Journal just to name a few.
She is the former host of the Entertainment Minute which aired on the NBC40 News and was featured twice on FOX's Chasing New Jersey.