24-Sep-2010

Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) tracks and reports detailed statistics about visitors to a website. It has a sizeable market share at around 50% of the top 1 million websites as ranked by Alexa. Since I have a Google account for other services such as Webmaster Tools, AdSense and AdWords, it is particularly compelling because:

  • Google makes it easy for me to start using GA.
  • There is integration with other Google services including the ones that I use.
  • Google servers are high performance and high availability.

Using my GA account was simple and straight-forward. Google provided me with an account and GA tracking code which I added to my website code. Within minutes, I was up in basic mode (no customizations as of yet) with GA operating its function to collect visit statistics to my site.

Initially, I took a few minutes to consider the page load performance for my site in light of the GA tracking code. Then as I fetched the code, it became apparent that Google's latest GA tracking code supports asynchronous processing (AJAX) which allows the page to be loaded and rendered while the GA tracking code is operating in the background to perform its function. I followed that option and stopped thinking about page load performance.

I did have a problem with account management involving different email addresses that I previously registered with Google. This issue shows up in my GA account and I have submitted an inquiry to Google regarding this "login problem". I await word from Google on resolution.

My objective with GA is to glean insight into site visitors so that I can determine which areas of my site are of greater demand. I intend to publish the site statistics in the future when I have significant information.

GA is not the only game in town and I am investigating other providers of website statistics tracking. One function that has caught my attention is the ability to track which areas of a page users are clicking on. The reporting shows a map of clicks on a given web page thus showing the areas of relative importance and demand. I shall write about my experience with other providers in the future.

See Traffic Source Breakdown as an example of useful statistics from GA.

See Site Visitor Statistics for GA results for this site.


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