I can still remember as a child being taught the metric system in school. This was in the late 1970’s when we were convinced that it would take over in the US, leaving the Inch and the Quart by the curb to be picked up by the Standards Garbage Man and taken to the dump. There they would spend the rest of their days reminiscing with the Sheckel and the Cubit while they passed around a bottle of White Lightning. “Man, everybody knew me. I’m telling you. Now even Milligram won’t return my calls. He used to beg me to hang out. BEG ME!”
That’s just a brief digression that was prompted by the subject of Web Metrics. That word ‘Metrics’ has a few meanings for me, hence the reminiscing.
Any Internet Marketer worth his salt, or his pepper, will tell you how important Web Metrics/Analytics are; if you’re not using them, you’re missing the most effective path of marketing – measuring response in order to learn how to increase it.
For now, I won’t go into the whole subject of Metrics as it is extremely complex. It’s not just about getting the numbers – the software will do that for you. Succesful web metrics/analytics is about setting up the software to give you an answer to a specific question, such as ‘What call to action works best?’. But metrics is equally the interpretation of data because testing can give you answers that aren’t apparent immediately.
There isn’t always a simple ‘this means this’ solution. For now, to help you get started, I just want to recommend to you a few free Metrics packages that offer all the capabilities you’ll need. At least for the smaller business. They are:
1. Google Analytics – Formerly Urchin, this is a full Web Analytics package that offers capabilities you won’t grow out of anytime soon. Some don’t like it because of Google’s growing domination. There’s always the question of what Google will do with all of the data they get, not only from this program but all of their others. Still, it’s free and a very powerful tool.
2. ClickTracks – ClickTracks has been in the Analytics business for some time and have succeeded to the point where they are one of the ‘Standards’ in this industry. The features of their free program is equal to Google’s so it’s a fine choice. The one problem, at least for people like myself, is part of it runs on your computer – but only Windows machines. Google is completely Web-based.
3. Crazy Egg – I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about this program,but it’s worth a look. Not as powerful and the free option is only good for tracking 4 pages, but it’s a start. Worth at least looking into.
With 3 options, 2 of them world-class, you have no excuse for not working on your Metrics. The sooner the better. Trust me.
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