No matter the size of the industry, or the product or service being sold, tracking statistics and interpreting the data in order to make informed decisions is one of the most crucial strategies that could be the difference between business success and business failure. In short, if it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing. So it's important to consider the top analytics tools for online businesses.
Business from small to large regularly and diligently make records and create spreadsheets to track sales, stock, upcoming orders, expenses, revenue, and much more, in order to successfully see where the company is headed, whether or not it’s on track to reach its goals, and if they need to implement any changes.
But, why should online businesses care about tracking numbers? And perhaps more importantly, what exactly should be tracked? Whether you’re selling a product or service online or making revenue through creating content, performance is the most important factor to track.
Your online business’s success is always due to a combination of multiple ideas, strategies, and efforts, and the successful culmination of various different marketing strategies and traffic sources.
Even if your business is doing well right now, it’s important to use data analytics to get answers to important questions for the future. Where is your business going? How has it gotten to where it is right now? Ask yourself questions about your own company as if you were considering investing in it which you are - running a business is not just an investment of your money, but also your time and energy.
A good analytics system is crucial in order to get a solid understanding of what’s working for your site. You will use these tools to find out exactly what’s happening on your site and help you separate what’s working from what’s not, in order to make better business decisions. Here are some of the best web analytics tools to consider.
This is one of the top analytics tools that most people use first, and for good reason; it is easy to use, gives relevant information, and it doesn’t cost anything. It makes a great starter tool for measuring data on your website, and it’s worth running together with Google Webmaster Tools to get the best results. Some key features of Google Analytics include:
Traffic reporting: Google Analytics is a traffic reporting tool at the most basic level. You can use this service to tell you how many people are visiting your site on a daily basis, and track trends over time, which can be used to make data-driven online marketing decisions.
Conversion tracking: Once you have identified various conversion points on your websites such as e-commerce sales, contact form submissions, or a telephone call, you can set these up for tracking using Google Analytics. You will be able to see more details about each conversion, such as when the conversion was made, the traffic source that the customer was referred from, and more.
Keyword referrals: Google Analytics allows you to be able to see what keywords people are using to find your website online, which can help you make better decisions in the future regarding your website’s SEO strategy.
Third-party referrals: You can use Google Analytics to see which third-party website has sent traffic to yours. This can be useful since you’ll be able to use this data to determine if any sites are worth investing more time in building a relationship with, along with being able to see when a new site publishes a link to yours.
Custom dashboards: Google Analytics allows you to create a personalized dashboard for tracking analytics. For example, if seeing keyword referrals, conversions, and web traffic are the most important to you, you can add these to your dashboard for easy access. Your dashboard will be the first thing that you see when you login, and you can easily share reports by exporting them to either PDF or CSV format.
Clicky Analytics has been a popular tool in the analytics business since it was first released and is often the first tool that users sign up to when they feel it is time to move on from Google Analytics. It’s a popular option if you want to upgrade your analytics tool in conjunction with studying marketing analytics; click here to find out more about online programs available. The key difference between the two is timing; while Google Analytics provides you with information from the day before, you can get information about your website in real-time from Clicky, which is essential if you get a spike in visitors from an outside source. Features include:
Content: You can use this section to find out everything that you need in terms of understanding which posts, pages, and categories are popular among your readers. For example, you can look at exit pages to determine which sites leak the most traffic, allowing you to actively target that page and make improvements.
Pages: You can see the number of times that a page has been viewed, in order to better understand the information that your audience is the most attracted to and any potential areas that you can improve upon. This is a good metric to use if you are considering future content ideas; determining how older content performed helps you get a clearer idea of what topics your audience is the most interested in.
Entrance: The entrance section is a great way to quickly and easily see how traffic is finding your site and can help you identify which landing pages are the most successful.
Exit: Similar to the entrance section, however, you can use this option to determine the exact pages that users are on when they decide to leave your website.
Downloads: If you provide downloadable content on your website, this handy feature allows you to see exactly how many downloads each document or image gets from your visitors, which can help you determine which tools are performing best.
Mint is an ideal analytics tool for those who want to cut down on regular business expenses, as unlike many other analytics tools that charge a monthly fee, you can get this one for an upfront fee of just $30 per site. Along with this excellent price incentive, it comes with a very easy-to-understand, clean layouts with simple charts that display the information that you need to know about how your business website is performing. Some notable features include:
Front end: Mint’s front end is very useful, robust, and easy on the eye. You can use the base installation for data tracking over a period of time, along with information on searches and referrers. You can also download extensions that allow you to track trends, out-clicks and downloads.
Activity reporting: Unlike Google Analytics, Mint also reports activity to the minute, and you can extend this through a vary of plugins known as Peppers, that add additional tracking capabilities.
KISSmetrics is one of the most popular analytics systems for businesses, and along with a useful tool, they also have a regularly updated company blog that’s filled with a huge amount of information that you might find helpful. It offers a great system for getting to know your visitors and is an ideal choice for eCommerce businesses, with a range of tools specifically designed for selling products online. Some of the key analytics features include:
Deep data tracking: This tool is designed mainly around deep data tracking functionality, and is capable of providing users with very deep insights regarding their business website’s performance. It automates updates and provides comparisons of essential metrics in order to help users better understand how their company is faring in regard to the goals that they set, and what customers expect from them. KISSmetrics understands that the closer a business is to its target audience, the more people are going to buy from them.
Retained customer information: KISSmetrics retains the information about every customer that has been associated with your business’s services, even if it’s just one visit to your website. Whether they are regular clients or one-time customers, once they have been tagged by the system, their information is stored and utilized in order to improve the lead generation process.
People-centered: The system is very centered around people, providing only significant, accurate, and deep insights. The system provides enough information to come up with solid strategies without the need for any third-party services and applications, but there are options for connecting it with many other applications.
CrazyEgg is another company from the owner of KISSmetrics, which offers a variety of visual options to see how people are navigating your website. The tool offers a variety of ‘maps’ which you can utilize to see exactly how visitors are browsing when they visit your site. These include:
Heatmaps: Pictures of where people have clicked on your site, letting you see what’s popular and what isn’t so that you can make design changes to increase conversions.
Scroll map: This shows you how far down the page your visitors are scrolling, which can be ideal for determining where visitors are leaving the page.
Overlay: The overlay report enables you to see the number of clicks on every element of your page.
Confetti: This map allows you to distinguish all the clicks on your site divided by search terms, referrals, and other sources.
All of these top analytics tools for online businesses are useful, so try each of them to see which you prefer.