I had a meeting recently with a friend, Scott Metcalfe with Fetch Local Customers (www.fetchlocalcustomers.com) and he asked how many people visited my website. I had no idea. I also had no idea how to get this information. Scott told me to just use Google Analytics since it is a great too for this, has a ton of features, and it is free. I heeded his advice and decided to get Google Analytics running for my website. Luckily, it was pretty quick and easy to get going.
How it works
The process was fairly easy. Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and sign up for an account. At the end of that process, there will be a small window with some web page code that needs to be placed on your site. By placed I do mean put on every single page on your site using some web page editing tool. For me this was easy since my site uses a CMS (Content Management System) so I opened up the main console and easily went to the site itself and added the code, which in turn associates it with every page on the site. If you are not using a CMS for your website, you should be since it gives the user the ability to edit pages and content on the site with no web coding knowledge at all. If you can use Word you can use a CMS….
Now that I had my Google Analytics account and placed the code on my website, I just had to sit back and wait to get the metrics. After about a day, I started seeing information on my website in my Google Analytics console. After a few weeks, I really started seeing some interesting information. The power of the system is incredible and some of the information you can glean is downright amazing. For example, I can see who accessed my site using their smartphone and even the exact brand of phone they use (iPhone, Verizon Droid, HTC Evo, etc. ). Not sure what this does for me exactly, but if I was building a smartphone application, this information would be invaluable.