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What are website statistics or analytics?

What are website statistics or analytics?

Written by Andrew Larkin

My advice on how you can start to measure your website statistics in order to make informed decisions about your business website.

So what are website statistics? 
It's the simple act of gathering information which allows you to measure the performance of your business website or more importantly make informed decisions about your business website.

As a business owner you already gather statistics as a way of measuring your business performance. Such as sales, profit, turnover. These are probably measured on a monthly or quarterly basis so why not do the same when it comes to your business website?

One of the problems I think there is with website statistics is that they are mainly aimed at website professionals. It can be confusing or misleading to business owners if they don't fully understand them. I would argue as a business owner you don't need to fully understand. You don't need to be an accountant to understand profit or turnover at a basic level.

When business owners don't fully understand the statistics, they lose interest. The business owners themselves stop looking at the statistics, which in turn makes the statistics pointless.

Like anything news - it gets old.
Or business owners don't make the time to view the statistics.
They forget over time what the different statistics actually mean.
Or their website becomes less important.

I see many business owners get very passionate when statistics are explained or demonstrated to them. They love to see the level detail or analysis that can be done on website visitors. But when they lose interest, when they no longer measure or gauge the performance using the website statistics, they make website decisions based on what? Gut feeling, instinct or outside influence.

A very good example of this is deciding to go ahead with the new mobile version of your existing business website. This decision can easily be made based on just looking at a few simple website statistics. Business owners who don't use the web statistics are making that decision based on what?!?

Measure what you understand

Start by measuring what you know or what you understand. One simple statistic and start monitoring it on a weekly or monthly basis. My advice - start with visitors. How many visitors does your website receive on a monthly basis? 

Write it down in a notebook or keep it in a separate spreadsheet so you don't have to go back to whatever tool you use for measuring your website to get that information.  Just jot it down and keep it separate.

Over a few months you will begin to see a pattern emerge, and only then can you start to ask the right questions about your business website.

As a website professional I can be much more effective in helping, you the business owner, with your business website if you come to me to say "I had an increase in the number of visitors to my website over the last three months but why am I not seeing more business"?

We could then sit down together look at the performance of the website and make an informed decision about how to proceed, in order to get the most out of your business website.
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