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It’s not uncommon for business owners to leave the IT matters to others, but in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by technology, it helps to have a firm grasp of the tools that will turn your Internet marketing efforts into a success. Without staying on top of who is visiting your website and how long they stay, as well as other important demographic statistics, you will be at a definite disadvantage when it comes to streamlining your online presence to better serve your customers. You need to know if your website is effective and if it’s converting visitors into clients.

Keeping and analyzing stats doesn’t have to be expensive, however, and in fact it has been greatly simplified over the years thanks to Google. Their analytics software—aptly named Google Analytics—provides a host of features that you can use to track potential customers who visit your company’s site. It is also very easy to get started, and involves only a few basic steps:

Installing Analytics

It takes little more than access to the back-end of your site and a Google account to start collecting valuable information. Make sure that you choose a secure account that only you have access to and visit http://www.google.com/analytics/ to sign up for Google Analytics.

You will be prompted to answer a few basic questions about your website, and from there you will be offered a tracking code that you may copy and paste directly into the HTML of your site. Normally, you would place this in the area between the <head></head> tags; however, if you are using content management software of some kind, there may be other ways to insert Google’s script that doesn’t require you to dig into the source code of your pages.

Using Analytics for the First Time

Google Analytics has a multitude of useful functions and can be overwhelming at first, so it’s best to concentrate on a few key areas when you’re getting started. As soon as you have had enough traffic trickling in, you will be able to see on your Google Analytics dashboard where in the world your traffic is coming from, the general age groups of your traffic, and what other sites on the Internet your visitors have been coming from. This in and of itself is valuable, but there are many more features.

One of Google Analytics’ best traits is its real-time reporting. You can view statistics on specific visitors that are currently perusing your website, and you can even set Analytics to alert you the moment that certain events—such as your traffic reaching a certain threshold—occur.

Customize Analytics for Your Goals

Every business will have different goals for its site, and you can tailor Analytics to suit yours. For example, if you are concerned with a new sign-up form for your mailing list which you are A/B testing, you can set parameters to track the conversion rate. The same can be done when it comes to e-commerce sales on your site, or any other task that you are inducing your visitors to perform.

Google Analytics is a versatile tool that is invaluable for any business that generates sales through its website. If you don’t already use this popular web application, it may be time to go through the short and simple sign-up process.

Written by Raul Betancourt.

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