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What Are the Best Tips for Analyzing Websites?

By David Bishop
Updated May 16, 2024
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The growth of the Internet and related technologies has made web analytics an important tool for developing and refining web sites. Several methods are used when analyzing websites, including on-site tools such as visitor counters and off-site techniques that attempt to measure the popularity of a site based on external data. These methods are used by website owners to improve their sites and make them more user-friendly. Advertisers also use this data to help them determine where to best spend their marketing budget.

Visitor counters were one of the earliest methods of analyzing websites and remain an important tool in 2011 for website owners who are interested in user traffic. This type of data can usually be tracked on a statistics page generated by a web-hosting service. Many web-hosting services also will discriminate between returning users and the number of unique visitors. In many cases, this data also will indicate how long a user spent browsing a website and record the pages he viewed during his visit. Website owners can use these statistics to track the popularity of certain pages and see what types of changes help improve traffic flow to the site.

Another on-site method used for analyzing websites is the user survey. Many website owners use surveys to get valuable demographic data and general feedback from users. This type of data can be very useful when approaching advertisers, particularly if the website serves a profitable demographic. These surveys also can help website owners get user input on changes to the design and what users would like to see on the site in the future. Surveys should be used sparingly, because they can annoy users who are constantly being bombarded with requests.

Off-site analytics typically require more research and may be less reliable than other statistics. Analyzing websites with these techniques usually involves gauging the potential audience for a site and tracking references to it on social networks, blogs and other kinds of sites. Some of this data can be tabulated through certain search engine tools and from the social networks themselves. Larger websites may pay for this data and hire extra employees to help track the popularity of the site.

Smaller websites should start out by using the free data available to them from their hosting service and free search engine tools. As the website grows, it may hire employees to perform this service or contract with an outside firm that specializes in analyzing websites. These kinds of specialists can help improve a site’s popularity and make it more attractive for advertising.

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Discussion Comments

By pastanaga — On Jun 19, 2012

@Mor - You can't just rely on that though. Analyzing the traffic to your website can be invaluable in adjusting it so that you get even more traffic. If all you want to do is put your stuff out there, then sure, you can just rely on really good content. But, it's naive to think that learning how to add appropriate tags and key words and so forth won't also help you tremendously.

I find that one of the things Google likes is fresh content. That's not something that makes any difference to the quality of your website, really, if you make sure you post something every day rather than saving up your postings for the end of the week. And that's something you can work out for yourself with website analysis.

There are so many places online where you can learn the basics for free and even get advanced tools for analyzing your website for free, you just have to take advantage of them.

By Mor — On Jun 18, 2012

@pleonasm - That's why people who concentrate on SEO to the detriment of the content of their website are missing the point. You can tweak your page to get perfect statistics, lots and lots of visits but it means nothing if you don't keep people there by providing them with something they want or need.

That's one of the reasons people get so annoyed by Google changing their algorithms, so that different websites are easier to find. They are trying to make it so that people will find quality websites, not websites that were analyzed by the best SEO marketeers and tweaked until they were the perfect trap.

Don't become completely obsessed with analyzing your website. Provide good content and the people will come to you.

By pleonasm — On Jun 17, 2012

Many people put a lot of emphasis on unique visitors when it comes to advertising and this is an important statistic. You do want a lot of unique visitors so that you can get a high volume of eyes onto your product or the ads that are on your site.

However, it's just as important that those eyes stay put long enough for the advertising to make a different. You can have thousands of unique visitors to your site, but if they all just click to view and then click away, they aren't going to be much use to you or your advertisers.

Ideally you want both a lot of unique visitors and a lot of page views from each unique visitor because that means that lots of people are finding your site, and finding it interesting enough to stay on it and even visit it again and again.

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