Web Analytics Bare Essentials (Part 1)

Web Analytics, SEO, and SEM have increasingly become MUST KNOW TOPICS for all web professionals. Yet, quite a few out there still do not understand the importance nor the benefits of analytic tools such as Google Analytics, WebTrends, Omniture, etc. The following is taken from my own knowledge and research of Web Analytics…as I provide a basic overview of Web Analytics and insight on key strategies moving forward.

Web Analytics has evolved and matured within the past 10-15 years and there’s every reason to think the new year will bring several new and important revelations. Starting from the basics, we have two different types of analysis (Logfile Analysis and Page Tagging)

Highlights of Logfile Analysis

  • Information is readily available in a raw format
  • Records all requests from the web server (both successful and failed requests)
  • Logs information from search engine spiders, which is great for SEO purposes
  • Log File Analyzer software is available (Post-parsing reporting vs Real-time on demand reporting)
    • Post-parcing analyzers usually require more computer/server strain and are performed on a schedule
    • Real-time can be produced at any time on an “on-demand” basis (Ex. WebTrends)

Highlights of Page Tagging

  • Records all successful requests
  • Reliable as the JavaScript is run after each page is loaded
  • Works with JavaScript enabled browsers to capture data about the user (using cookies)

Companies must decide which type of analysis they want for their site (if not a combination of the two); it depends on the company’s goals, what they offer, what they are trying to accomplish, company’s level of technical expertise, and the number of site they are managing.

Along with these two types of analysis, its important to note what statistics are deemed industry standard and must be accounted for…Basic Statistics you should be aware of: visits, page hits, avg time on site, unique visitors, bounce rate.

These are all basic, but key, stats you should be aware of in order to see trends, analyze “peak” days, figure out how many returning visitors you have, and how sticky your site is. Using these keys measures, you must figure out how to improve traffic and user retention rates.

These statistics can be measured using analyzers like Google Analytics to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your site. As changes are made, success can be measured using statistics like unique visitors, bounce rates, etc.

Example of a Google Analytics Dashboard below:


Stay tuned for more in-depth posts that explore more into trends, SEO, traffic, and the “basic statistics.”