Web Analytics: An Introduction

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Everybody has different needs in this world. Unfortunately, things can become very confusing when companies try making all kinds of products to suit all kinds of different customers. All of a sudden you end up with too many iterations of one thing and absolutely no clue how they all fit together or whose needs they are supposed to fulfill. I’d say this is a symptom that the analytics market has these days.
This is the first of a series of posts that will attempt to pull the analytics market together and hammer it apart piece by piece so that you can understand what is out there, who it is for, and how you can make use of it.
To begin with, we are categorizing analytics into four main groups. These groups are based upon what the analytics actually track, in other words; who would actually use them. Our categories are RSS feeds, Blogs, Basic Websites, and Business websites.
###RSS Feeds
Depending on the purpose of the RSS feeds and the number of the RSS feeds you have, the tracking solution for it will be different. Some sites may need detailed data on their feeds while others may just need basic stats. Basic stats would include things like the number of subscribers you have and growth trends, while more detailed stats would tell you things like the click-through rate of subscribers and more detail on trends in general. Sites that have dozens of RSS feeds may need a more advanced analytic, especially if they are relying heavily upon large numbers of subscriptions. They might even what to know exactly which RSS feeds are getting more subscribers. Sites that only have a few RSS feeds may only need to get the gist of what is going on.
###Blog Statistics
We are now seeing a ton of different types of blogs out there. There are corporate/company blogs, personal blogs, and even some hybrid blogs that became popular and are now responsible for heavy traffic. Each of these may wish to know different things about their blogs because they all have different reasons for blogging. The solutions vary greatly here and can track things like visitors, comments, posts read, and where visitors are coming from. Some advanced features include trends and growth over time.
###Web Statistics
A lot of personal websites aren’t necessarily in need of advanced analytics. In fact, some of those analytics can offer so much information that they quickly become confusing and totally useless to the casual website (without even taking price into account). Some of the basic needs that these websites might have include number of site visitors, how they got to the site, and where the visitors are geographically located. These fit the bill for the more basic website analytics (website statistics) and we’ll go into more detail about who they are and what they do in the rest of this series.
###Web Analytics
Analytics solutions that are used to track sites that directly or indirectly make money are the most robust. They can provide detailed visitor information, conversion, advertisements, and a lot more including a breakdown of all this by product. This is the most complicated of the four groups and we will spend a lot of time breaking this down into its component parts and how they can be leveraged to get more out of business websites.
Understanding all these different analytics might seem complex, but it doesn’t need to be. Breaking analytics into these four categories and going through them should map the industry and clarify where products stand.

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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