by John Eberhard

I routinely run into people who are not tracking the statistics of their web site and have no idea how many people are coming to the site. I realize that a web site and Internet marketing are not a priority for every business. But if you are trying to generate business with a web site, it is vital that you have a mechanism in place to track how many people are coming to the site.

Minimally this will answer the question on whether you need to a) concentrate on generating traffic (if you traffic is really low) or b) work on changing the web site to get more leads from it (if your traffic is decent but you’re not getting enough leads).

There are a number of web statistics software programs and services available, but several years ago Google came out with Google Analytics, a free service that is quite good. So Analytics is the service I recommend to everyone at this point.

Putting Analytics on your site involves putting some code onto every page of the site, although if you have a WordPress site, one simply has to download a plugin that allows you to hook up Analytics, then enter your account number.

You can view these statistics for your site on a weekly or monthly basis.

Visitors: The first thing you should track with your web site is the number of visitors that come to the web site each week. I graph this weekly for my own web site, and I report the number of visitors monthly to my monthly marketing clients.

Some people say that the statistic you should pay attention to is the number of unique visitors, which is the number of people who came to the site, discounting if they came more than once. So if 100 people came to your web site, but one of them came 21 times, the unique visitors stat would be 100, but the total visits stat would be 120. I prefer the total visits statistics because I think you want people to come to your site multiple times.

Pages: You should look at what pages people came to on your site, and how many times for each page. As you make changes to your site, this will tell you how well those changes are working and how well you are directing people to go to the important areas of your site.

Referring Sites: These are sites that have a link to yours, and it shows what sites actually referred you some traffic in the week or month. This is important because it shows which search engines are sending you traffic, which social media sites you are getting traffic from (showing how well your social media marketing efforts are going), and in general it shows how well your link building efforts are going.

Keywords: Google Analytics will show you what keywords people entered in search engines, that resulted in their finding you and arriving on your site. This is important because it is an indicator of which keywords your site is ranking well for. Because people wouldn’t actually be arriving on your site using that keyword if your site was ranking lower than page 2 or 3 for that keyword.

Good luck with tracking your online marketing and site activity.