The New Face of Web Analytics
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The days of basic Web stats are coming to an end. Webmasters and Web marketers are beginning to understand that hits and session counts, while interesting, provide little if any value when analyzing the productivity and efficiency of your website. Advanced Web analytics are evolving quickly, and giving us incredible insight into usersí behaviors, enabling us to make intelligent decisions with our Web content.
As a webmaster, I must admit that Iíve never had any enthusiasm for Web statistics. In fact, itís been the most tedious and painstaking part of my job; a monthly compilation of numbers to produce what can basically be called "wow" stats. I say this because if you see a general increase in session counts or referrals, you can say "wow" and move on with your job. Any attempts to understand the change in numbers are based primarily on gut feeling, producing no actionable metrics.
But this is all changing. Web statistics are evolving (rapidly) into Web analytics. We now have the ability to monitor very reliably usersí paths through our sites. We can see what content is attracting them, and even from a visual perspective we can determine which sections of landscape on our pages are attracting peopleís eyes most effectively. We can easily measure how modifying a few words/links, or moving a picture will impact final conversion events such as product sales or user registration. We can understand which pages people are getting hung up on, and even which fields in a form people are getting bored or frustrated about, and abandoning the process! These insights and more can enable us to make intelligent predictions and decisions, based not at all on gut feeling.
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