On Blogging and Social Media

To help educators get started with social media and blogging

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to track your site

Posted by Nik Peachey

Writing a blog or creating a website is hard work. Keeping it up to date and keeping new content on your site is even harder, so if you are going to put all this time and work into your site, you will want to know that people are visiting it and reading your articles and enjoying your content. So you are going to need some kind of tracking.

There are lots of products on the market that you can add to your site to tell you how many people are visiting your site etc, but one of the best I've found is Google Analytics, and best of all it's free.

Google Analytics
can tell you a lot more than how many people are visiting your site, it can give you very detailed information about where the people are, how many pages they view, how long they stay on your site and much more.

All this information can be very valuable and informative especially if your site is being developed for commercial purposes, so the sooner you add some form of tracking the sooner you are going to find out what your site is really achieving.

Here's a tutorial movie showing you exactly how to add Google Analytics tracking to your site. In order to do this you'll need to have a Gmail / Google account, but that is also free, so this doesn't cost you anything but your time.

In future postings I'll be looking in more detail at the information that Google Analytics can give you and how you can use this information, but for now good luck with getting your account set up and your code added.

How about you?
  • What tracking do you use?
  • What are your KPI's (key performance indicators) that tell you how well your site is doing?
  • Are you addicted to those web stats and checking them everyday?

Please leave comments, suggestions and opinions.


Johanna Stirling said...

Hi Nik,
To answer your questions. I've just started using Google Analytics which as you say is very detailed. On my website I also use AWStats (part of the hosting package but it's open source anyway, so free) which I really like.
Of course I look at how many visitors I've had in a day. But the thing that really bugs me is how many of those are on the site for less than 30 seconds which makes me wonder if they are just robots or if my site is really boring!! I must work on getting people to explore further.
Addicted - you bet! (Pure vanity!!)


Johanna said...

By the way, Nik, could I request a posting about 'Trackback'?

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Johanna

I'll get to work on a trackback article. As for the 30 second visitors, don't worry too much about them. Some people come to your site by accident, others are scanning search results and looking for something specific and some might just be robots. Every site has this problem. Really the important thing is to divide the overall time on site of all visitors by the number of visits. This will give you and average time each visitor spends on your site. This is an important KPI (key performance indicator) and shows how engaged your audience is with your content, so then just monitor to try to increase it.

Have an article coming up on making the site 'sticky' so look out for that.



Jeremy Day said...

Hi Nik

I spent a couple of hours last night trying to work out how to do this. Then I found your tutorial and ... five minutes later, it seems to have worked. (We'll see tomorrow if I actually get any data.) Thanks very much for your help - you're a star.


Nik Peachey said...

Thanks Jeremy. That's always nice to hear (the star bit as wellas the five mins bit)

Good luck

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