If your library maintains a website (and we really, really hope you actually work on maintaining your website!), it’s often handy to know how that site is being used. Web analytics programs can not only help you measure website traffic, they can also provide you with tools for massaging raw traffic data to spot trends or problems with your website. One of the more popular web analytics programs among libraries is Google Analytics; for one thing, it’s free, but it also is constantly being improved by Google. This year saw quite a few nifty changes to Google Analytics that you may have missed, so here is a list of four of our favorites, in chronological order:
- Google Analytics adds Real-Time traffic data (Mashable/Todd Wasserman) “For users trying to gauge how a campaign or post is performing, Real-Time will track the immediate impact to site traffic. If a user posts something and then tweets about it, for instance, Real-Time will track when traffic from the tweet stops driving visits.”
- Path analysis in Google Analytics with Flow Visualization (Analytics Talk/Justin Cutroni) “The reason why click path reporting has sucked for SO LONG was the vast amount of data stuffed into a really crappy display. Google is trying to solve that using this new visualization[…]. Using this interface you can identify where people come from, follow them to various pages and evaluate the bounce rate, and then see what they look at after the landing page.”
- Check your site speed with Google Analytics (ReadWriteWeb/Joe Brockmeier) “You’ll find the average redirection time for the site, assuming you have any redirects, as well as the average DNS lookup time (if any). You’ll also see the average TCP connection time, the response time, and download time. So you can get a sense how much of the time is being spent getting the page and how long is being spent actually loading the page. In other words, you can see if there are things that need to be addressed with site design or with backend processing time or DNS issues.”
- Google Analytics preparing for social reports next year (Search Engine Watch/Thom Craver) “The intent, says Google, is to allow site owners the ability to know what kind of engagement their content gets through social media and measure it by social network for the purpose of being able to optimize content for additional engagement across social networks. Google social products like Google+, Blogger, and Google Groups are already involved in the process. Other partner networks have also signed on, including Delicious, Digg, ReadItLater, Reddit, TypePad and more.”
All OPLIN Dynamic Website Kits include Google Analytics.