Jan 31, 2012
Every Webmaster Needs Success Data
Every webmaster eventually knows that he or she needs tracking. The ability to track visitors, clicks, and the browsers, geographical regions, and more data of each visitor to your site is invaluable information! Properly setting up tracking is like learning about your customer so you can better serve the “guests” that surf the pages of your site! With more information of your site “guests”, you can
customize your posts, learn more about for what people were searching your site and write more material of those subjects
track your success measured by visitors and more!
The best way to do gather that invaluable tracking information is through the the mother (and father) of the Netfootnote_of_awesomeness_1, Google. Their exist many tracking methods to accumulate quantifiable data for your website, blog, and presence on the net, but one of the best is Google Analytics. I’ll show you how to setup and install that on your site (or blog).
Gather Your Essential Account Information
Implement the Tracking
Method 1: Copy and Paste the Code (Most Common Method)
How to access google analytics code:
Assess and make sure the tracking code is being picked up and transmitting to Google Analytics.
Filter out your own IP so you can distinguish page hits done by you.
Tracking Status: Analytics has been successfully installed and data is being gathered now.”
That’s what pops up in the yellow Tracking Status Information box that verifies Google Analytics is “set up” on your site!
Method 2: Use Plugins to Implement the Tracking Code
Personally, I like Google Analyticator as personal preference. I like being able to filter out my clicks and visits and the clicks and visits of any other user (Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor, and the like). Additionally, I have a way of not just eliminating that specific user type but filtering it into its own graph so I see unique non-admin visitors and my own visits and clicks, a useful bit of information to see because if I was doing a lot of testing or installing some new features or writing a lot of posts to a site, it can be useful to see your own visits at times. In terms of interpreting and reading graphs and data there are entire books written on that, but I like the ability to see, for example, an increase of me visiting my sites (writing more, installing new pages, touching up on the appearance of the site, adding new features, and more) and then a lot of traffic after that!
Remember all those plugins are very similar and all they really do is an elaborate form of Method 1: Copy and Paste the code directly from Google Analytics into the template. So if you have an aversion to using a plugin, Method 1 works just as well. I prefer to use the plugin because I usually only like editing the actual .php or .css templates to edit an appearance feature of the site(s), not to install something (like google analytics). Additionally, there’s the additional bonus of having advanced filtering (like eliminating the admin clicks on a site. Very cool!).
Method 3: Use php or Another Scripting Lanugage (Advanced)
The Importance of Analytics: First-Hand Experience
It’s invaluable to know when you are (or are not) getting traffic. It’s vital to know what posts or what days or what weeks or months caused a huge spike or plummet in traffic. That invaluable quantifiable data gives you information on what types of material to write about (if it drew a lot of traffic), what material to avoid (caused decrease in traffic) and what design features (for example upon installing ajax or some advanced features incompatible with older browsers you notice a large shift in visits) effect traffic.
I have tried using other tracking methods and “visits” often gets muddled with bots (non-human visitors “checking out your site”. It’s a preference if you would like to include “bot visits” as actual visits or not. Or, I sometimes could not distinguish my own site maintenance and site upgrade and update “visits” from actual visits, like “Hey there were a hundred more visits than normal on the 17th! Hey they were all from the same “visitor” and…Oh wait a minute!” And that was a day I wrote a lot and/or upgraded or tweaked a lot of features of the site design.
So conclusively, it’s important to have reliable, accurate, statistics, providing quantifiable data about your site as that measures its progress. This tutorial showed you how to ensure you have that information! Feel free to bookmark this site for future learning on your path as webmaster progresses; there is more from this site with tech Linuxgeekoid and its Partner POPP Software in the future!
1. Well not really “mother and father”, considering the Internet’s Arpanet origins in the 1970s and that Google only came about relatively recently, specifically when it was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Paige on September 4, 1998, but Google is one of the biggest presences on the net, and thus it’s smart to use their analytics to get this invaluable information about people attracted to and itnerested in the information on your site!