Google’s free Analytics service has long been one of the most widely used analytics tools for website owners. Google Analytics provides powerful tools for webmasters and website managers to discover how their visitors are coming to their site, what pages they’re viewing while they’re on the site, and how long they’re spending on each page. Google Analytics also integrates with Google’s AdWords program, so that a web manager can integrate their advertising program goals into their website, and so that they can track and measure the effectiveness of their various advertising campaigns.
If you try to do all of your development work on a standalone web design program such as Dreamweaver, Coda or NetObjects Fusion, you may find yourself spending a lot of time switching back and forth between your design program and your browser, making sure that the changes you’re making to your application or website are displaying the way you intend.
Getting a website up and running has never been less expensive. You can use KompoZer or Notepad++ to create your website, FileZilla to connect to your webhost via FTP, GIMP to create high quality logos and graphics for your site, and Google Apps and Google Analytics to help you manage your site behind the scenes. One of the few things remaining you’ll have to pay for is website hosting... except that there are companies that will even provide you with free webhosting.
It’s quite likely that you’re comfortable doing much of the work necessary to get your website up and running. Even if you’re not comfortable doing each and every technical task, there’s a good chance that it wouldn’t take you long to learn enough to do what you need to do. But graphics can be another matter completely.
Analytics software can help you improve your website, regardless of the type of website it is, and regardless of your goals for the site. If you run a business website, perhaps you want to maximize the number of signups you get for your mailing list. If you run a personal website, then maybe you’d like to get more people coming to your site so that you can have more people comment to your posts.
There is one thing that virtually every popular website has in common; effective content. The definition of “effective content” varies depending on the type of website, of course. For some websites, that content might mean informative articles about topics in the computer industry, while for another website effective content consists of short videos of dogs and cats doing funny things.
For most blogs and websites to be successful, they need to do more than simply post articles and other content on a regular basis. To truly succeed, websites have to have a strong “user engagement,” which often means getting visitors to post their own thoughts and comments. Website comments not only let visitors talk to you or respond to what you posted, they also allow those visitors to talk to one another. The more time a user spends on your site, and the more conversations they have with others, the more likely it is that they’ll return to your site again.
When you build a house or an office building, your first task is to hire an architect. Can you imagine turning a group of building contractors loose on your vacant lot without providing them with a blueprint to follow? In order to ensure that the home is built soundly, safely and correctly, you give builders a blueprint. In the same way, you need a clearly developed website architecture if you intend to build a sound and successful website.
Getting enough traffic to your website will likely be the biggest single factor in determining whether or not your site is successful. While it’s always possible to get additional traffic by advertising or paying for referrals, those methods of generating traffic cost money. And even if you’re willing to spend that money, you can’t always be sure about the quality of that traffic. After all, a new visitor isn’t worth much if they simply leave your site after a few seconds.
Regardless of the kind of website you operate, one of the easiest ways to customize its look and feel is by changing the fonts you use to display your text. A different font can create a different atmosphere or feeling, can help to connect you with your website visitors or customers, and can even help you turn prospects into customers.