No matter how large or small your online business is, you should be using some sort of web analytics software. Today, Web site traffic analysis is an industry complete with high-end enterprise solutions like Omniture and Websidestory to free lower-end solutions like Google Analytics. But for the customer, the tools many of these companies provide can turn your Web log data into some slick and useful reports. Web site analysis tools aim to help you get the biggest return on your web investment. Using these tools, you can discover: * How many users visit your site, how many return, and how often * How users are navigating through your site * Where in the "conversion funnel" or purchasing process, they're getting stuck and leaving * How your various marketing campaigns, such as banner ads and keyword buys, are performing, from clickthrough to checkout * What content your visitors are looking for, and whether they're finding it * Exactly which form fields are driving people away rather than bringing them in.
The amount of information available can be almost overwhelming. But even more overwhelming is the number of companies out there ready to help you find it. This article will help you through the process of understanding and evaluating your Web analytics options. Top Vendors Google Analytics http://www.
google.com/analytics Free - formerly Urchin. You just need to create or login to a Google account. Great for small to medium-sized businesses that have little or no budget with basic reporting needs. Omniture SiteCatalyst http://www.omniture.
com Their clients include: AOL, Apple, eBay, Ford, GM, HP, Sears, Time, Wal-Mart, Aveda, Blockbuster, Microsoft. The best enterprise solution with many customizable features and great reports. WebSideStory http://www.websidestory.com Their clients include: FedEx, BestBuy, AT&T, Warner Bros, Viacom, Bank of America.
Used to be the market leader but just hasn't inovated enough over the past few years. Not bad but 2nd-tier. Pricing Most analytics vendors don't post pricing structures online. You will most likely need to talk to their sales staff to ask about your particular needs, as most solutions are priced based on number of pages monitored and amount of traffic.
But as a rule of thumb, expect the prices to range from as low as $30/month for online monitoring, to as high as several thousand per month. If you go with an installation, expect to pay from under $1,000 to over $5,000, depending on the add-ons you choose. And this doesn't include ongoing upgrades and hardware costs.
Then there's Google Analytics which is free and perfect for companies with basic analytics needs. Once you register, you just drop a little bit of code on your web site (easy for developers) and watch the data roll in. While you're discussing pricing options with an analytics vendor, be sure to ask about additional services.
Many companies offer consulting services, as well, such as software installation, specialized reporting, or strategic consulting to help you get the most out of your new software. Good luck in your analytics quest and once you start seeing those reports, you'll be glad you took the plunge!.
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