The Top 5 Tools for Tracking Your Web Metrics

Tools can be essential for tracking the metrics of your website. Web analytics is more of an ongoing process than just an analysis of data. The process does start with the collection and analysis of your data and competitors’ data, but even more important than the collection of the data is the second step: what you actually do with it all. Once you have your data in hand, you need to translate it into a set of actions that you will take to improve your web site.  And finally, those actions must be aligned with your most important business goals: increasing sales, increasing social sharing, increasing customer engagement, or whatever the appropriate goals are for your specific business.

The best tool for understanding user behaviour:
Google Analytics [free]
We’ll start with what has become the standard in web analytics tools for businesses of all shapes and sizes (and it’s not the standard just because it’s free). Google Analytics is actually one of the most robust and powerful analytics tools out there. It will help you understand exactly what your visitors are doing on your site. If you run an e-commerce site, Google Analytics can track your transaction data and help you identify which pages on your sites drive the most sales. Beyond user behavior data, Google Analytics does a great job giving you a sense of your user demographics, showing you where you users are from, what types of internet browsers they are using, and even the size computer monitor they are using.

The best tool for SEO and competitive research:
SEMrush [$69.95/month and up]
If you advertise on Google or Bing or Yahoo!, then SEMrush is an excellent tool for you. In addition to excellent data on your rankings (and competitor rankings) in search engines, SEMrush tells you what keyword searches your competitors are advertising on and even shows you their ad text. And, believe it or not, you can get an estimate of how much your competitors are spending on their search advertising. SEMrush is an excellent tool to understand exactly what is going on in the search engines and gives you actionable insight into how you can improve your rankings and your online advertising

The best tool for testing and optimizing your site:
Optimizely [$79/month]
Once you’ve collected data on how your customers are using your site, the next step in the analytics process is to try new things on your site and see if you can improve performance. Maybe you want to get more people to fill out a form or add a product to your shopping cart. Maybe you just want more people to “like” your page on Facebook. This is where a service like Optimizely comes in. Optimizely lets you quickly make changes to your site and then automatically tests which version—the old version or your new version—is better at accomplishing your goals. The best part about Optimizely is that you don’t need help from a web developer or engineer—the entire interface is point-and-click and you can make changes to your site without touching a line of code.

The best tool for tracking social metrics:
Twitter Analytics [free]
Thankfully, some of the best social analytics tools are built right into the tools you are already using. For Twitter, log into their advertising site and click the “analytics” tab in the top navigation. You don’t have to advertise on Twitter to use this feature, so you can just ignore their buttons and links that encourage you to place an ad. Within Twitter’s analytics suite, you can see who your followers are, where they are from, what they are interested in, and even get the gender ratio of your followers. You also get an analysis of your tweets so you can see which tweets reach the most people and create the most conversion.