Tracking analytics on your website is a good way to see how users find your content and how they interact with your site.
Stats for websites
Be careful with tracking, the more you track about yours the more you may alienate them. Also remember that many people install extensions to disable tracking.
Knowing statistics about your website can help you make informed design and content decisions. You can see what content is important, how people move around your website, and where they come from.
Some stats you can track:
- number of visitors
- number of unique visitors
- length of stay
- bounce rate
- pages visited
- source of traffic
- search engine keywords
- browser/OS versions
There are different kinds of stats packages you can have on your website:
- Most hosting providers have server-side stats that give you general information but it isn’t too detailed.
- You can also install client-side and more intense server-side stats packages to give you more detail and track lots more about your users.
- Google Analytics Help Center
- Smashing Magazine: A Guide to Google Analytics
- GA: For Developers
- 10 Key Statistics You Need To Check On Your Website
Allow you to register your website/sitemap on search engines and track how the robots see your content.
Give you lots of helpful info:
- Keywords people use to search your site
- How often the robot spiders your website, and any errors
- Check if your title tags, meta descriptions are duplicated
- See your meta data, and keywords
- Suggest improvements to your HTML
It’s often helpful to get notified when your website goes down, so that you can act on it.
There are a bunch of monitoring tools that you can hook up for exactly that purpose.
A/B testing or split testing is a way to get data on which of two different designs performs better. You create two variations of the design on your live website—concentrating on a specific goal—and test it with real users to see which one performs better.
- A List Apart: A Primer on A/B Testing
- The Complete Guide to A/B Testing
- Smashing Magazine: The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing
- What is A/B Testing?
- 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When A/B Testing Your Designs
Tracking blocking extensions
There are a few very popular extensions to block trackers and encourage security in your browser. Some of the worst tracking offenders are advertisers.
- Privacy Badger
- HTTPS Everywhere
- uBlock Origin — Firefox, Chrome
- Ad Block Plus
- No Script