Web Analytics 101

Web Analytics 101

If you’re a blogger, then you will have set up some sort of web traffic analysis system for your blog. There are a slew of ways to do this, and each person has their own preferences. Today I’m going to share what I use and why it works for me. Let’s start with the basics first:

Why Are Web Analytics Important?

“Web Analytics” refers to the process by which you determine your website’s traffic count, popular pages, and referring sources. Without some sort of tool in place to measure this, you will have no idea how many people are coming to your site or where they found you. This is what helps you gauge your site’s popularity and gives you a tool for providing information to advertisers who are interested in working with you.

What Service Should You Use?

There is a lot of debate on this topic, so it really boils down to a personal preference. There are countless services out there, from free services like Google Analytics to pro tools like Omniture.com. Each tool uses its own metrics to determine web traffic, so there will be a variance (Sometimes significantly!) in the numbers you see from program to program. For my own sites, I use both Google Analytics and SiteMeter. I hear a lot of disdain for SiteMeter, but I personally like it for two important reasons. First, it’s the only free web analytics program that I have personally used that shows a report with links to each website that has referred a visitor here. (If you use a different free web traffic report that offers this function, please leave me the link in the comments as I’d be really curious to check it out!) This means that I can find out exactly where visitors are coming from, and has lead me to many mentions of my site that I would have otherwise missed. For example, reading my referring URL report recently lead me to a blog that had done a Spanish translation of my Howie D interview, and also gave me the heads-up that one of my reviews was linked to on Groupon. I find out useful information like this all the time and would really feel in the dark without it. The other benefit to this is that my SiteMeter report is public, so I can send the link to anyone who is interested in working with my website and they can see my traffic report for themselves. This gives them more detailed information than they would have otherwise and saves me having to send over screenshots in an email.

I’d love to hear feedback from other bloggers about the web analytics programs that you use. Do you utilize a business utility like Omniture, or do you use a free web tool like SiteMeter?

LIV GRN Natural Giveaway at The Mom Buzz

Contest Listings

Site Name: The Mom Buzz

Site URL: http://themombuzz.com/

Prize Description: The Mom Buzz is giving away at LIV GRN Natural Kit! This is a fragrance set that is sure to be appreciated by whoever is lucky enough to win. The kit includes a full size fragrance, a mini oil rollerball perfume, as well as a scented lotion, scrub & gel. LIV GRN Natural is an earthy fragrance with natural floral notes. It comes packaged in a wooden box for a true “Green” experience, and is valued at $80. Enter now!

Entry deadline: 1/1/12

Open to: USA

Enter this giveaway here: http://themombuzz.com/2011/12/16/liv-grn-perfume-for-the-holidays-win/

Shrek the Musical Tickets Giveaway at The Mommyhood Chronicles (RI)

Contest Listings

Site Name: The Mommyhood Chronicles

Site URL: http://www.the-mommyhood-chronicles.com/

Prize Description: The Mommyhood Chronicles is hosting a giveaway for residents of Rhode Island. One lucky winner will receive a family 4-pack of tickets to see Shrek the Musical at the Providence Performing Arts Center! These tickets are for opening night, January 3rd 2012 at 7 pm. Entrants are welcome to enter this giveaway as a gift – so if you don’t live in Rhode Island but have friends that do, feel free to enter and surprise them! Winner will be notified first thing on the morning of January 1st so they can plan accordingly.

Entry deadline: 12/31

Open to: US residents

Enter this giveaway here: http://www.the-mommyhood-chronicles.com/2011/12/shrek-musical-at-ppac-4-pack-ticket.html

Buying a Used Automobile: Yay or Nay?

Our Cars

Do you buy your vehicles new, or used? I’ve always lived a very alternatively frugal lifestyle – my parents never owned a car when I was a child, opting to walk everywhere instead, so I actually only learned to drive as an adult once I was living on my own. Because of my different background, I have never visited a car dealership to purchase an automobile – both Jai and I have purchased all our cars used, paying in cash and buying directly from an individual seller. I own a 1960 Mercury Comet while Jai owns a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, so we’ve done the spectrum of used cars from modern to vintage! It’s a way of life that is radical to many, and I certainly don’t expect everyone else to do the same – different options work for different families and situations. For Jai and I personally, our “Cash-only” approach to vehicle ownership has worked out wonderfully.

Before making a purchase, we carefully research our options to determine safety and durability; and once we have chosen a vehicle, we keep track of any and all expenses associated with maintenance or repairs over the years. I know many people imagine used cars to be a money pit with repair after repair, but that most certainly doesn’t have to be the case. Factoring in all repairs we’ve made to our cars as well as any other expenses, we have still saved a huge amount of money versus what we would have spent in car payments and high insurance premiums for a new vehicle. Owning a used car isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a great thing for us, so I don’t think we’ll be visiting a Jeep dealership for a new car anytime soon – as awesome and fun as a new Jeep would be! :)