A brief history of web analytics…
Web analytics can be traced back to the early 90’s to the creation of a company named Webtrends. In server-side programming, when a specific HTML element was requested by a user (e.g. website visitor), it would call this action a “hit” and was recorded into a log file in the server. This “hit” could have been an image, text on a webpage and some other element within the requested HTML code. Webtrends developed software that analyzed these log files, giving birth to the start of commercial web analytics in 1993.
This process was enough to analyze information in the world wide web since the majority of the content at that point was made out of static pages (mainly text and links). The advances of programing throughout the 90’s phased out the simplicity of this analysis. Webpages were moving into a direction were the norm was to have content heavy pages and interactive codes for user interaction.
Fast forward to 2006, when Google acquired Urchin, a well established web analytics firm. Urchin focused on log-based tools for understanding using behavior in websites. The eventual product of this acquisition is what we know today as the leading web analytics platform, Google Analytics. Chances are that if you are looking into Web Analytics, Google Analytics is one of the most robust and complete web analysis platforms out there.
What is Web Analytics?
Simply think of web analytics as the study of online behaviors from your website visitors . The high level principles of web analytics involve deploying a tracking code that routes information, collecting that behavioral information and analyze it to find ways of optimizing our website. Optimizing the website in turn will make a better user experience for your visitor and increasing the impact of your call to action, product or service.
Why does it matter?
Web analytics matter because they serve as a measure of success for a website and its associated business. Analytics matter because they can give you a clear perspective of your own website’s trends, figure out how people find you in the different search engines (e.g. Google, Bing), among a whole array of other key metrics that will help you improve in your search for online awareness and visibility.