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Who is visiting your website? How long are they staying? What pages are they visiting? Are they doing what you hoped they would be doing on your site? If you’ve spent time and money developing your website to promote your business, these are things you want to know. Is your website doing all it could be for your business? How do you tell?

Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to track all aspects of who is visiting your site, which pages they are visiting, how long they are staying, how they found your site, and much more. A tracking tool is essential to find out if your site is working for you the way you wish.

Sign up for a free account at http://www.google.com/analytics/. Once you have signed up, you will be given some tracking code which you will need to put on your website. If you are using a theme or template based CMS, you can usually find a place for the code in your theme or template options. Or you can contact your web developer to add the code to your site for you.

Once the code is on your site, you will be able to begin tracking visitors. Some of the information you can glean from Analytics includes:

  • how many visitors came to your site on any given day
  • how long they stayed on your site
  • which pages they visited and how they moved through your site
  • which devices they used to view your site (desktop computer, tablet, smartphone)
  • what search terms they used to find your site
  • whether they found your site through clicking an ad or through an organic search

Once you begin to track how your site is being used, you can evaluate whether the goals you’ve set for your site are being reached, and adjust your site accordingly if they are not.

If Google Analytics is not your cup of tea, other free and paid site analyzers exist, such as Yahoo Web AnalyticsPiwik , and Open Web Analytics.

AwStats, Webalizer, and others are often already installed on webservers and may be available through your site’s hosting.

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