Day 13 — Analyze Your Traffic in Google Analytics

Google Analytics LogoToday is an easy one. There are two main things that have to be done. The first one is to familiarize yourself with ad tracker, and another one is to install Google Analytics, a free web stats and web analytics service with business-grade features.

If you have done so in Thirty Day Challenge Day 7, you should now have the data you need to at least see what’s going on your site.

It takes a bit of technical skill, but if you pay attention and follow instructions, you should be able to go through it just fine.

First, a big more background about ad tracking and web analytics software.

Why Tracking Your Ads?

Every Internet marketing expert should test and track their results, both for paid and the so called free traffic. Remember, even if it is free traffic, there are cost related to time and energy spent on it.

For instance, if set up right, with an ad tracker, you can identify exactly where the hits to your web site came from in previous days or months. That means you will be able to know which link is working well. Yes, you may use this not only for ads but also for every individual link that you are testing.

With more advanced tricks, you will be able to track conversion too, i.e. which ads or links are turning your visitors into customers.

If you track affiliate program, it may be hard to track conversion because the code has to be installed on the page after the visitors complete the order. However, if the affiliate product is using ClickBank or other affiliate networks that support conversion tracking, you may be able to track the conversion too.

Ad tracker comes in two major types:

  1. Service-based tracking. You use it as a web service, which means that you don’t have to install and maintain it. As expected, if you don’t want to pay, there may be a catch if you use a free ad tracker. Make sure you examine it carefully before signing up.
  2. Self-hosted tracking. You need to install this one on your own hosting server, but once installed, you will be able to use it for as many links and in as many sites as possible.

I personally have a site that turns tracked links into pretty URL. Mine is hendryrecommends.com. So if I recommend a hosting, it may appear as hendryrecommends.com/hosting.

The Benefits of Web Analytics

Using Web Analytics software like Webalizer or Awstats, you will be able to determine sources of traffic, number of hits, unique visitors and other important parts of your site. (Usually both of them come with standard web hosting.)

The thing is, they are quite limited, because they analyze data based on log files. An access log file is a collection of entries written by the server every time someone requests a file from the server. The data may be complete but there is no way the server can track clicks on outgoing links, which link the readers click to go to different sections of a web site, and so on.

That’s when JavaScript based tracking comes in handy. Google Analytics is one such analytic software that provides this feature. It used to be Urchin, a commercial analytics software package, before Google acquired them.

Just to be fair, while javascript-based tracking is more useful, it operates based on JavaScript features. That means if the visitor doesn’t enable JavaScript on their site, s/he won’t be tracked. Although that represents a small percentage of web users, still it is a drawback of this kind of web analytics software.

It is also important to know that even though different log file analyzers use the same log file, none of them have a standard as to how to interpret hits, unique visitors, partial downloads and so on. That’s why you may see inconsistencies between one analyzer to another. Let alone across different type of analytics software.

Checking Your Stats

Login to your Google Analytics to get a feel of your traffic sources. Ad tracking software allows you to check if someone clicked on your affiliate link. Based on the data, if there are sales, you will know how many clicks it took to get a sale.

Review

It is necessary that you setup both ad tracking and web analytics software right now, even at this stage. You need to know later where you traffic is coming from — whether it comes from your main keyword or not. As web analytics also track referral traffic from other sites, you may also determine which traffic source and social bookmarking sites are more effective.

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