One of the many problems faced by small businesses is getting a real handle on the numbers behind the sales. There is either too much or too little information to make intelligent decisions. Too much information and the business owner is swamped with, in many cases useless information. Too little and decisions become little more than educated guesses. For small businesses operating online, Google Analytics has gone a long way in overcoming these problems. Google Analytics is a free analytical tool that requires a minimal amount of setup.
Before setting up Google Analytics, you need to ask yourself one big question "What is Google going to do with this data?" The answer is simple - "We don't know." If you are in a business where Google may conceivably want to establish a presence, you may want to consider another analytic tools. For the rest of us – especially the small business person, Google Analytics makes sense.
This simple setup is all the many businesses will need. It tracks visits to the site, breaking them down into segments such as new visitors and returning visitors. Information such as where a visitor comes from, on average how many pages does a visitor view and how long do they spend viewing your site. These reports are available over various time periods allowing you to track trends and can be setup to do side-by-side comparisons of two different time periods.
With a little more setup, tools are available to track the way a visitor uses your site. Whether you sites goal is to generate a sale or contact information, this tool lets you 'see' which pages a driving the visitor to that goal.
Google Analytics provides a wealth of information for the small business owner. And, for many small businesses it is the only analytical tool they will need.