Using data to track website performance.

What are you looking for? Website analytics can help you understand how your key digital asset, your website, is performing.

  • How do users find your site?
  • What do they do on your site?
  • How well does the site meet its goals?

Whilst websites will generate data, to be of use that data must be captured.

website analytics

Best of the free tools

Google provide a couple of key tools that will help here – Google Analytics and Google Search Console.  Together these tools can be used to capture key information about users, pages and goals.

The best thing about them is what you can do with them is immense.  The downside is that they are quite difficult to use.  Please persevere.  Tracking the key statistics regularly is the easiest way to see how your site is performing.

There are several other tools available from Google to help you make the best of your website, how people find you and how fast your pages load.

google analytics and google search console tools can be used to capture key information about users, pages and goals

Google Analytics & Google Search Console

Specialist tools

Outside of the Google camp there are tools that can help you understand your audience and their behaviour.

Mixpanel focuses on the actions that people take when they are on your website or your mobile application. A similar solution is called Amplitude.  They help you understand the actions that people take and may therefore give you insights into how to improve their experience which in turn should lead to more conversions.

Heat mapping techniques can also be applied to websites.  By analysing how your audience engage with your site and how they navigate around pages and which parts of which page most engage their attention, again you may increase your knowledge and gain greater insights.  A leading tool in this area is Hotjar.

These tools complement but do not replace your core analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

As soon as you go down any of these routes, you may want to future proof your efforts.   Each time you implement a new tool or analytics program, you need to give it some data.  In the good old bad old days, this meant coding an integration on each page or button that you wanted to measure.  If you implement a solution such as Segment.com, then you can integrate additional tools at the mere “flick of a switch” saving you significant development time and cost.  It is well worth thinking about this the first time you look at Hotjar, Mixpanel, Amplitude or any other similar tool rather than wait for the second one that you want to implement!

This leads us to another issue regarding the value of free tools.  Google Analytics is a huge and extremely useful tool.  It helps all website owners understand lots about their website, how it is found, and, to some degree, what happens when users get there.  Giving away Google Analytics was probably one of Google most inspired ideas.

This tool allows you to implement a solution that allows Google to collect masses of data from your website.  It is yours to review but that is all.  You can tweak to a degree what is stored, but you cannot change or amend that data once it has been stored.  For most users this is a minor issue.  For a number of website owners wanting to gain deeper and more complicated insights into user behaviour, then it may be worth capturing your own data.  A tool like Segment can help you capture data and both send it to Google Analytics, but also store it in your own storage facility or “data warehouse”.

If you would like to discuss your needs, please call 03300 436949, send a quick email or fill in our online enquiry form.

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