If you want to run a successful web site or blog you need to have a clear picture of how your web property is performing. If you don’t know basic information about your web site you won’t be able to make corrections, troubleshoot problems or do proper planning for growth and expansion.
Before explaining the 4 essential tools that will help you control your web site, let me remind you again about the life cycle stages of a web site:
- You create your web site – Choose your domain name, setup the web site
- You build the right structure – The structure of a web site is important not only for SEO purposes but for usability and credibility
- Your write the content – Your choose the topics and proper blog titles
- Your SEO optimise your posts and web site
- You promote your blog posts
- You intend to follow an internet marketing strategy with the ultimate goal of increasing your web site’s traffic
- You repeat steps 3-6
What is necessary in each and every step above is control. With proper control you will know if you need to change your structure, improve your content, write more content etc. In addition you will know your web site’s position in search engines for various terms and much more vital information.
To cover this cap you need to take advantage of 4 important tools:
- Google Analytics
- Google webmasters tools
- Bing webmaster tools
- My Web site control system
Let’s look at these 4 essential tools in a bit more detail.
1. Importance of using Google Analytics for your web site’s success
Google analytics can tell you important things about your web site like:
- How many visits you get per day
- From where these visits come from
- What keywords they use to find your web site
- How much time they spend on your site
- Which are the most popular pages
…and many more interesting facts and figures.
So, as soon as you have your web site up and running you should install analytics. I will not go into the details on how to install Google Analytics on your web site; you can read this nice tutorial from Google.
Assuming that everything is setup correctly and analytics is gathering data for your web site the next step is to understand some basic reports and interpret their data. You can read more about the 5 Best Google Analytics Reports and how to use this data to grow your web site.
Some people use other analytics software (for example webtrends) which is also fine provided that you can get answers to your questions as outlined above.
2. The Google webmasters tools
The webmaster tools are a set of tools by Google to assist web site owners find out more about their web site. By registering your web site to webmaster tools you gain a number of advantages like:
- It’s the only way to communicate with Google in case your web site’s has a problem
- It’s one of the best ways to find out what Google knows about your website.
- You can see how many pages of your web site are indexed by Google
- The number of links pointing to your web site and from where
- To be informed by Google for any potential problems with your web site like malware, server unavailability etc.
Submitting your web site to Google Webmaster tools is straightforward. You can read my previous post: How to use Google and Bing webmaster tools for beginners for all the settings you have to make and reports you need to view.
3. Bing Webmaster tools
Many people neglect the power of Bing as a search engine and this is a big mistake (see also Top 10 search engines). Bing is not as powerful and popular as Google but it is still a good source of quality traffic. The benefits of submitting your web site to the Bing webmaster tools are the same as those explained above for Google so won’t repeat them again.
In summary, you should use the information from Analytics and webmaster tools to create your Internet marketing strategy and devote your time and efforts on specific goals and not just publish content.
4. My web site control system
Last but not least let me talk a bit about a system I am using to control my web sites. It is nothing fancy or complicated; in fact you can use Excel or Google docs (I use Evernote for that).
Basically I keep monthly statistics (in a table format) for each and every web site. In particular I keep count of: number of posts, index pages, links, Rss subscribers, twitter followers, facebook fans, Google+ followers, Pinterest followers, visitors coming from chrome, visits from the android mobile app, total number of organic visits and total number of views.
By having this information in a table format for all my sites I can see at a glance which web sites are performing well, which web sites have a steady growth and which web sites need more attention.