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HOW TO

Understanding Your Analytics Results
By: Katie Gatto
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    2010-06-23

    Table of Contents:
  • Understanding Your Analytics Results
  • The main analytics screen
  • Visitors Overview
  • Traffic Overview Sources

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    Understanding Your Analytics Results


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Do you have analytics software, but you aren't sure how to get the most out of it -- or even what some of the information even means? Keep reading. This article will enlighten you so that you know what your software is talking about in plain English.

    So, you have decided to start tracking your website's visitors with analytics software. Or, maybe you have had the software installed for a while, but with so many other things going on you have just not had the time to get to know your analytics numbers. Either way you are now ready to begin using your analytics data to improve your site's performance and perhaps to increase your readership.

    There is just one slight issue. You are not exactly sure how to make sense of the information in front of you. Never fear, you are in the right place. Here you will get a comprehensive look at what the data means; that way, you can make intelligent and informed decisions about how to best run your site. Soon you will be a master of the data.

    Before we look at the data in specific fields, we should take some time to look out what analytics is and is not. That way we can all begin with a realistic set of expectations about the data.

    Analytics is…

    • A good way to figure out how many visitors your site is getting over a set period of time.

    • A way to find out how long the average visitor is staying on your site.

    • A way to track which of your posts is getting the most attention.

    • A way to get long range demographic information about where your viewers are coming from.

    • A way to see how many viewers are visiting multiple pages on the site, and how many are making a hasty exit to other sites.

    • A way to track your performance over time to see trends, and establish any patterns in traffic to your site.

    Analytics is not…

    • A way for you to track a specific user or visitor to the site.

    • A way to get contact information for or feedback from your end users.

    • A way to track where your users go after they leave your site, though you can see where they came from to get to your site.

    • A tool for getting non-geographic information about your end users. That means nothing about gender or age that you may have found of use to your site targeting.

    • A way to know why your content is succeeding or failing in attracting the attention of end users.

    Now that we have all of that sorted out, we can move on to looking at some of the things that you may encounter when you come to the main screen of your analytics application. After that we will look at all of the data screens in depth. That way you can understand what you are looking at when the screen pops up. Certain terms will also be defined, as they may be a bit confusing to those of you who are new to the world of SEO and analytics in general.

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