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Analytics acts as the eyes and ears for a website. It produces in depth information on visitor habits, providing an insight that would otherwise prove impossible.
It doesn’t simply track the amount of clicks a website receives; most packages will be able to analyse how they found you, which pages they visited, how long they spent on the site and the page they exited from. This data is extremely important in the ongoing management and optimisation of any website.
Google Analytics is a free programme that is favoured by many webmasters. There are numerous other packages available, but most will charge a premium for their services. All these analytics services work by embedding code in each page of a website, which is triggered each time somebody visits. It can track what they were searching for when they found you as well as their navigation and actions once on your site.
The statistics are formulated in a straightforward programme, which can then be used to track the progress a website is making on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly level. It will help to plot the various peaks and troughs that a website will pass through during its lifetime, whilst helping to flag up potential issues.
To optimise effectively you require the data that analytics packages offer. Without understanding basic visitor habits you can’t ever be entirely sure where a website is succeeding or where it is failing. Therefore analytics will help your website by giving it a clearer direction and ensuring that it has the necessary focus for future development.