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Midterm Paper for MIST: 7500 - Web Analytics and Design for Personal Blogs

Midterm Paper for MIST: 7500 - Web Analytics and Design for Personal Blogs

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Published by BenaiahMorgan
In this paper I will explore the current techniques and tools used for web analytics and web design.
In this paper I will explore the current techniques and tools used for web analytics and web design.

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Published by: BenaiahMorgan on Oct 15, 2009
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08/07/2010

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Benaiah MorganMIST 7510 Internet TechnologyFall 2009
Web Analytics and Design forPersonal Blogs
In this paper I will explore the current techniques and tools used for web analyticsand web design. I will then use what I learn on the personal blog I created for thisclass.
Web Analytics
 The Web Analytics Association defines this as “the measurement, collection,analysis and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding andoptimizing web usage.” However, web analytics need not be limited solely toimproving the usage of the site. Information collected from the Internet can also beused to improve marketing campaigns, both online and offline, customer service,and public relations.It is important to note that “Internet data” does not refer only to informationcollected about visitors at the target web site. It also refers to any informationgained about the site or the site’s owner anywhere else on the Internet.
On Site Data
 The type of information collected on the target web site can be separated into threecategories: traffic, demographics, and usage.
Traffic
 
 The earliest and most common measurements of traffic on a web site are hits andpage views. The number of hits refers to all client requests to the server. A requestfor a CSS file or an image would count as a hit. A page view is a measurement of client requests for pages only.Current technology allows for more sophisticated measurements. Today a web sitecould track how long a user stayed on the site, how long the visitor viewed specificpages, what web site referred the user to the target site, whether the user was arepeat or first time visitor, and which ads were seen by the end user.
Demographics
 Traffic information may tell you which pages on the site are most popular but itdoesn’t tell you how end users are viewing your site. For that you needdemographics information. It is possible to track what operating system andbrowser the visitors to a target site are using. Other statistics tracked includescreen resolution, the location of the end user (country, region, state, city), andwhich plugins and technologies are available and enabled within the browser.
Usage
Arguably the most important information thing you can learn from web analytics ishow the visitor is using the web site. Tracking the path an end user takes tonavigate can tell you how usable the site is: do visitors end up going in circles, dothey normally end up using a search engine instead of the navigation, do they quitin the middle of registering for the site or making a purchase, etc. Seeing the clickpath of individual end users allows you to get an idea of what your visitors aretrying to do, whether they’re able to accomplish it, and where the pain points are inthe web site.
 
Off Site Data
A more recent measurement in web analytics is information that’s not on the targetweb site. Beyond simply noting who’s linking to your site, web analytics servicescan track what search terms are being used to find the web site, what’s being saidabout the site or site owners, and which sites have information or discussions aboutthe site or site owners. For example, the author of the Smiley Cat Web Design Blogused web analytics to evaluate the usability of the CAPTCHA on a sign up form.Normally an organization would have to rely on surveys and the few people whooffer unsolicited feedback to get such information.
Tools
Several companies, like Teradata, offer end-to-end enterprise solutions for largeentities. However, there are tools for small organizations and individuals on theInternet.
Google Analytics
 The site states that it is,
“Enterprise-class web analytics made smarter, friendlier and free” 
. It can be integrated with other services in the product family (some othe items on the products page are free, some are not). Google Analytics can alsobe used for tracking campaigns that include off site components, e-commercereporting, internal site search, tracking the use rich and social media applications,and benchmarking. Reports can be customized within the tool or with the GoogleAPI
Piwik 
Piwik states that it is, “
a downloadable, open source (GPL licensed) web analyticssoftware program.” 
This tool is also a free solution. The program is installed on your

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