Performing your first Web site analysis just got a whole lot easier. Web Analytics For Dummies offers everything you need to know to nail down and pump up the ROI on your Web presence. It explains how to get the stats you need, then helps you analyze and apply that information to improve traffic and click-through rate on your Web site. You’ll discover: What to expect from Web analytics Definitions of key Web analytics terms Help in choosing the right analytics approach How to collect key data and apply it to site design or marketing Techniques for distinguishing human users from bots Tips on using Google and other free analytics tools Advice on choosing pay and subscription services A detailed and accurate analysis is crucial the success of your Web site. Web Analytics For Dummies helps you get it right the first time—and every time.
Introduction 1 Part I: Getting Started with Web Analytics 7 Chapter 1: Understanding Web Analytics 9 Chapter 2: Steering Clear of Common Terminology Confusion 21 Chapter 3: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Web Data 33 Part II: Choosing the Right Web Analytics Solution 57 Chapter 4: Web Analytics Tools You Can Use 59 Chapter 5: Investing in Web Analytics Tools 75 Chapter 6: Discovering Niche Solutions 97 Part III: Searching for Statistical Treasure 119 Chapter 7: Taking Out the Trash 121 Chapter 8: Reviewing Site Referrers 135 Chapter 9: Getting to Know Your Visitors 153 Chapter 10: Identifying Your Most Important Pages 167 Chapter 11: Key Performance Indicators Insights 179 Part IV: Knowledge Is Power — Making Analytics Work for You 199 Chapter 12: Sifting through Search Data 201 Chapter 13: Increasing Web Site Visibility 221 Chapter 14: Revisiting Your Online Advertising Strategy 241 Chapter 15: Chronicling Your Web Analytics History 267 Chapter 16: Fine-Tuning Your Web Site 281 Part V: The Part of Tens 301 Chapter 17: Ten Web Analytics Myths, Mistakes, and Pitfalls 303 Chapter 18: Ten Reasons Why Web Analytics Will Revolutionize E-Business 315 Chapter 19: Ten Web Analytics Best Practices 325 Appendix: Web Analytics Glossary 335 Index 343 Table of Contents Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 2 How This Book Is Organized 3 Part I: Getting Started with Web Analytics 3 Part II: Choosing the Right Web Analytics Solution 4 Part III: Searching for Statistical Treasure 4 Part IV: Knowledge Is Power — Making Analytics Work for You 4 Part V: The Part of Tens 5 Appendix 5 Icons Used in This Book 5 Part I: Getting Started with Web Analytics 7 Chapter 1: Understanding Web Analytics 9 Web Analytics: Why Bother? 10 Who should use Web analytics? 10 Why you should use Web analytics 12 The importance of benchmarking 14 Web Analytics 101 14 Thinking like a journalist 15 The language of Web analytics 18 Chapter 2: Steering Clear of Common Terminology Confusion 21 Hitting the Terminology Targets 22 Hits: The most deceptive stat of all 23 Pageviews: Getting closer to the truth 24 Unique visitors: The undisputable facts 25 The ABCs of Web Analytics 26 Mastering Internet Marketing Lingo 29 Defining Actionable Data 30 Untangling Technical Terms 31 Chapter 3: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Web Data 33 Help! I Can’t Find My Stats! 34 How to access your Web analytics tools 35 What if my host doesn’t offer analytics? 42 Taking a Sneak Peek at the Data 42 Recording your monthly history 42 Making note of peak days and times 45 Where’s my traffic coming from? 49 Comprehending Conversion Rates 53 Calculating that all-important metric 53 Goal Setting 101 55 Part II: Choosing the Right Web Analytics Solution 57 Chapter 4: Web Analytics Tools You Can Use 59 Before You Begin 60 What’s my budget? 60 What does your hosting company support? 60 Surveying Server-Side Software 62 The selling points of server-side analytics 63 Server-side shortcomings exposed 65 Are server-side solutions right for me? 66 Discovering Desktop Applications 66 Maintaining control with client-side analytics 66 Client-side cons and desktop downsides 68 Are client-side solutions right for me? 69 Hooked on Hosted Solutions 69 On-demand: Let the vendor do the work 69 Keep your cash flow flowing 70 Anytime access 70 Individual page tagging 71 One Web site, multiple servers 71 Hosted analytics pitfalls 71 Are hosted solutions right for me? 72 Getting the Best of All Worlds 72 Leveraging synergies of multiple tool types 73 Why you might want to use multiple vendors 73 Chapter 5: Investing in Web Analytics Tools 75 Before You Begin 76 Don’t Forget the Freebies 76 What to expect from free analytics tools 77 What not to expect from the freebies 77 Finding free analytics tools 78 Low-Cost Solutions, High-End Returns 84 Valuable capabilities for the value-conscious consumers 85 Getting acquainted with low-cost vendors 85 Enterprise Analytics for the Data Hungry 92 Web Trends Web Analytics 8 93 Omniture Site Catalyst 13 94 WebSideStory HBX 94 Coremetrics Online Analytics 95 Web Analytics For Dummies xii Chapter 6: Discovering Niche Solutions 97 Web Analytics: A Boon for Bloggers 98 Mint 98 Measure Map 99 Bloglet 100 Technorati 100 103beescom 102 Read All about It: RSS Analytics 103 FeedBurner 104 FeedFoundry 105 Pheedo 105 SimpleFeed 106 Analytics in a Pod 108 Tracking with PodTractor 108 RadioTail Ripple 109 Because You Are Paying Per Click 110 CampaignTracker 20 111 BlackTrack 112 People Watch with Live Analytics Tools 113 WhosOn 114 VistorVille 114 VisiStat 116 Exploring A/B and Multivariate Testing Software 117 Part III: Searching for Statistical Treasure 119 Chapter 7: Taking Out the Trash 121 Classifying Nonhuman Users 122 Robots, spiders, and Web crawlers 122 The evil of e-mail harvesters 123 Uptime hosting monitoring services 124 Gotta love link checkers and validators 125 Recognizing RSS feed readers 126 Blog-monitoring services 126 Why Eliminate Nonhuman Users? 127 The Danger of Referrer Spam 129 Recognizing referrer spam 129 Fighting Referrer Spam 130 Blacklist the spammers 130 Use the rel = “no follow” solution 131 Rely on your analytics tools 131 Ignoring Non–Mission-Critical Stats 132 Who needs hit counts? 132 Do you have the time? 132 Basking in your international appeal 133 Table of Contents xiii Who’s hosting my visitors? 133 Authenticated users and anonymous users 134 Downloadable files 134 Favorites and bookmarks 134 Miscellaneous miscellany 134 Chapter 8: Reviewing Site Referrers 135 Revving Up for Referrers 136 Discovering Your Traffic Partners 136 Identifying your referrers 138 Classifying sources of Web traffic 140 Searching for Statistical Treasure 141 Which search engines list your site? 142 Are you missing out on the search action? 143 Which search engines send you traffic? 144 Beyond Search Engines: Where Else Is My Traffic Coming From? 147 Measuring the value of link building campaigns 149 Are my Web rings really working? 150 Counting click-throughs from e-mail campaigns 151 Chapter 9: Getting to Know Your Visitors 153 Gleaning from Your Visitors’ Past 154 Searching for Significance 156 Determine popular search terms 158 Find requests for products, services, and information you don’t yet offer 158 Referring off-the-wall requests 159 Gleaning from Clickstreams and Labeling 159 Wow! My Site Has Multinational Appeal! 162 Betting on Browser Data 163 Monitoring browser usage 163 Mulling over miscellaneous browser data 165 Chapter 10: Identifying Your Most Important Pages 167 It’s Not a Popularity Contest — Or Is It? 168 Which Pages Drive Your Traffic? 171 To Err Is Human, to Fix Is Divine 173 Deciphering error codes 173 Unearthing unsightly errors 176 Working with Dynamic Pages 177 Chapter 11: Key Performance Indicators Insights 179 KPIs: When Not Just Any Data Will Do 180 Calculating basics: Percentages and rates; averages; and ratios 181 Keeping up with common KPIs 183 Web Analytics For Dummies xiv The Granddaddy List of KPIs 188 User and traffic growth KPIs 188 Content-effectiveness KPIs 189 Internal search effectiveness 191 Marketing-effectiveness KPIs 192 Conversion KPIs 194 Shopping cart KPIs 195 Which KPIs Are Right for You? 196 E-commerce sites 196 Content sites 197 Lead generation sites 197 Support sites 198 Creating Your Own KPIs 198 Part IV: Knowledge Is Power — Making Analytics Work for You 199 Chapter 12: Sifting through Search Data 201 Sifting Your Search Terms 202 Accessing the search data 202 Reviewing your top search terms 204 My Visitors Are Searching for What?! 206 Pleasant surprises 206 Searching for relevant terms 207 Profit thieves 207 Cashing In on Common Misspellings 208 Beyond Traffic to Conversions 209 Traffic Analyzer 210 Portent Interactive 210 103beescom 212 Flip-Flopping the 80/20 Rule 212 Monitoring Internal Site Searches 215 Driving sales, not traffic 216 The bottom line from the top down 216 Before you begin 217 Searching for Accuracy and Relevancy 218 Creating Targeted Landing Pages 218 Your Search Yielded Zero Results 219 Chapter 13: Increasing Web Site Visibility 221 Finding New Customers 222 Scanning your search engines 222 Improving your search rankings 223 Measuring your SEO efforts 224 Table of Contents xv Extending your geographic reach 229 Targeting high conversion categories 230 Milking Multichannel Sales 233 Reach Out and Touch Your Referrers 233 Like needles in the proverbial haystack 234 Pondering strategic alliances 235 Qualifying the leads 236 Understanding Strategic Alliances 237 Affiliates 237 Link exchanges 238 Content sharing 238 Co-registrations 238 New people, partners, and opportunities 240 Chapter 14: Revisiting Your Online Advertising Strategy 241 Many Ad Types, Many Analytics Tools 242 Tracking Efforts with Tracking URLs 243 Tracking keywords with Google Analytics 244 Tracking URLs cons 246 Adding Campaign Analytics to the Mix 246 Openads points you to profits 247 TrackPoint ad tracking 247 Clickalyzer’s marketing co-ops 248 Combating Click Fraud 248 Need detectives on your case? 249 CFAnalytics: Free and plenty of perks 250 AdWatcher adds it all up for you 250 WhosClickingWho? 250 Evaluating E-mail Marketing Campaigns 251 WebTrends targets markets 251 Reaching for relevancy 252 E-mail marketing KPIs to monitor 253 Tracking Offline Responses to Online Ads 255 Using coupon codes 256 Using unique URLs 256 Using unique toll-free phone numbers 256 Ferreting Out Ad Stats that Don’t Work 257 Comparing engine to engine 257 Comparing keyword to keyword 260 Unraveling Conversion Process Breakdowns 261 Understanding the conversion funnel 262 Cueing in to conversion funnel issues 262 Examining Google’s Conversion Funnel 263 Employing Conversion Tracking Tools 264 Optimizing Your Ad Campaigns 265 Web Analytics For Dummies xvi Chapter 15: Chronicling Your Web Analytics History 267 Name, Rank, and Serial Number 268 Saving data on the server side 269 Saving data with client-side solutions 270 Saving data with hosted applications 270 Saved by the spreadsheet 270 Benchmarking Your Conversion Rate 271 Oh, what difference does it make? 273 Benchmarking against the masses 273 Benchmarking Your KPIs 274 Benchmarking Times and Seasons 275 Month-to-month monitoring 275 Scoping history season-to-season 275 Another year goes by 276 Identifying Hidden Trends 277 Many Tools, Many Benchmarks 278 Access Log Files: To Save or Not to Save? 278 The case for dumping logfiles 279 The case for saving access logs 280 Chapter 16: Fine-Tuning Your Web Site 281 Understanding Optimization Strategies 282 Search engine optimization 282 Calling on conversion design 283 Capturing customers with conversion content 284 Optimizing Your Home Page 285 What Sends Visitors Running? 287 Optimizing Your Landing Pages 288 Measuring landing page KPIs 289 If visitors don’t love the landing page 290 Optimizing Product Pages 291 Measuring product page KPIs 291 Perking up poorly producing product pages 292 Starting with a Clean Web Slate 293 Determining Why Your Customers Abandon You 293 Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment 295 Finding out why shopping carts are abandoned 296 Shopping cart KPIs to watch 296 Sealing the shopping cart deal 297 Measuring the Effect of Site Changes 299 Part V: The Part of Tens 301 Chapter 17: Ten Web Analytics Myths, Mistakes, and Pitfalls 303 Averages Are the Analytics Answer 304 Monthly Visitor Trends Tell All 304 Table of Contents xvii Pinpoint Precision Is Paramount 305 Unique Visitor Data Tells the Truth 307 All Web Analytics Software Is Alike 307 But Numbers Never Lie 309 Make money with your metrics 310 A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words 310 Popular Search Terms Hold the Key to More Traffic 312 Funnel Vision Offers a Quick Fix 313 Betting the Farm on Top 10 Lists 313 Chapter 18: Ten Reasons Why Web Analytics Will Revolutionize E-Business 315 Truly Develop a User-Oriented Web site 316 Make the Most of Online Marketing 317 Save Money on Paid Search Campaigns 317 Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Your Customers 318 Realize Real-Time Opportunities 319 Combating Controversial Click Fraud 320 Closing the Delayed Conversion Loop 320 Optimize Self-Support Functions 321 Increase Results from E-Mail Campaigns 322 Predict the Future Here and Now 323 Chapter 19: Ten Web Analytics Best Practices 325 Define Metrics That Matter 326 Monitor Only Your Vital KPIs 327 Segment Your Visitors’ Behavior 327 Know Your Navigation Report 328 Keep Up With Keyword Campaigns 329 Optimize Your Landing Pages 330 Calculate Visitor Conversion 331 Save Your Historical Data 332 Make Changes Gradually 332 Commit to Continual Improvement 333 Appendix: Web Analytics Glossary 335 Index343 Web Analytics For Dummies xvii
Pedro Sostre is a respected Internet business and marketing guru and a columnist for Revenue magazine. Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran e-commerce journalist and the weekly analytics columnist for newsfactor.com.
Covers free and fee-based analytics tools Don't miss another profitable opportunity — find out what works and what doesn't Are you getting a decent return on the time and money you put into your Web site? Let this easy-to-follow guide help you find out! Two analytics experts guide you through choosing the right tools for analyzing your site, measuring your data, and making the changes that will boost your site's profitability without boosting your budget. Understand Web analytics lingo Find out what visitors do at your site Measure metrics that matter most Spot where your traffic comes from Reduce shopping cart abandonment