Metrics. Statistics. Analytics. Tracking.

If you are involved in online business you probably have come across some (or all) of those terms at some stage.

If you are paying anyone to do any work for you in terms of SEO, marketing“>SEM or ANY form of marketing, then YOU need to be asking about them.

So what can you track and how?

At the most basic level you can track how many people are visiting your website using one of the free statistics addons with your hosting account (Webalizer or Awstats).

You can also signup for Google Analytics or Statcounter or any number of other systems that can track what is going on with your site.

The key things you’ll want to know are the number of page views (NOT hits) and the number of unique visitors. You’ll also need to look at how people are getting to your site as well, as that is an obvious and very important factor.

In Google Analytics you will need to look under the “Traffic Sources” section:

analytics-traffic-sources.jpg

If you’re advertising on Adwords you can link Adwords to Analytics. You can also link to Adsense if your site is running Adsense ads.

Previously we posted a bit about social media and how we use it. It’s not that hard to track the impact of social media on various parts of our business.
In Google Analytics or Awstats you can easily see the referrals from facebook.com, twitter.com and related domains.

It’s not as easy to track clicks from some of the desktop applications such as Tweetdeck, as they’ll appear as not having a referrer. This is easy enough to fix. You can either pass the URL through a shortener, such as bit.ly, or add a custom referrer to the url. For example, instead of linking to http://www.blacknight.com we could link to http://www.blacknight.com?ref=twitter

Of course sales are always going to be something you need to keep an eye on, so using custom coupon codes and landing pages can make it clear what is working and what isn’t.

And this is only the very tip of the iceberg.

What metrics do you keep an eye on?

What metrics do you ignore?

If you outsource your online marketing, is your supplier giving you detailed reports?