A friend of mine recently complained to me that he had no idea why his website sales kept swinging wildly – there were sudden spurts in sales and equally low dips too, quite often. But the reason he had no clue why this kept recurring was because he didn’t have a handle on analytics – he wasn’t tracking his website traffic sources, he wasn’t checking how conversions occurred , the usual visitor workflow on his site, which pages visitors’ were exiting from etc. Without a good analytics tool on your site to guide you, you are blind as a bat.
I love the 90-10 rule that @Avinash explains so beautifully – if you have a budget of $100 to spend on critical decisions about a website then you must spend $10 on tools for analysis and $90 on analysts. What he means is that more investment should be made on the people front in the form of training or monitoring or supporting greater involvement in decisions than the investment made in tools. Further Avinash says that multiplicity is a great practice. No single tool can be enough for gathering insights into every parameter of a website. Best to make use of a couple of tools to equip yourself with just the right set of data to analyse. I couln’t agree more.
Here are some of my personal favourites – you can pick and choose 1-2 tools based on your needs.
I am sure you already know about Google Analytics but I can’t imagine any Analytical tools list being complete without mentioning Google Analytics. The free version itself can fully take care of the analytical needs for small businesses.
- Robust and exhaustive – custom reporting, clubbing of desired metrics over the desired period, options for generating reports and so much more
- Can be used on multiple sites, provides a consolidated view , allows you complete control over how you want to organize your dashboard.
If you visit its website it boldly announces “Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics tells you who’s doing it.” That should give you an idea of the in-depth analysis offered by this tool. KISSmetrics tracks people,their sources and the ones that convert.
- Has an interesting data funnel feature. This feature allows you to understand the sections of your website that aren’t doing very well.
- Paid software- Offers a thirty day trial period Split testing – Tracks the activity of a customer after acquisition too
You may not like:
Feels short of tools like Google Analytics as it is centred around customers primarily, it does not offer very detailed data about the overall traffic sources.
It is used by over half a million websites as of last count. Allows you to save data in several formats like CSV, TSV, XML, PHP etc. It’s free and open source. Piwik is a great web analytics tool for ecommerce sites and can track the earnings from visitors and measure overall performance. Its dashboard shows data sets like keywords, browsers, map views of the visitors, real time traffic to name some. The mobile view for this tool is great.
- Can track multiple websites
- Open Source – customizable Multiple website tracking is available
- On premise data storage- data is not shared with any third party
Approximately 694,830 websites depend on it to monitor real time traffic. It provides details of the visitors who searched your website. The free registered account can only track up to 3,000 visitors per day while the range of charges for better upgrades is from $9.99 to $19.99 per month to $159.99 per year. Heat mapping and A/B split testing is an interesting option available.
- Accurate realtime data Integration with WordPress with a simple plugin
- Heat maps
You may not like:
User interface is not very appealing Many features are available only in paid versions Usage on multiple sites is only allowed under the paid version
Woopra as an analytic tool is designed around site visitors. It allows a user to see the number of people available on the site and track each visitor’s actions. Woopra’s core competency lies in visitor behavior analysis.
- You may appreciate the dashboard if you are a seasoned webmaster
- Shows how your website is being used/explored
- Live chat – You can interact with your customers when they are present on your websites
- Can be used on multiple sites
You may not like:
The dashboard – A first time user may not find the dashboard very friendly.
Although each of these tools offer analytics in the broader sense, you will need to understand which type of tracking you will be able to best leverage for your business. Once this becomes clear, you can pick a couple of SEO Tools that will work best for you.