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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google Analytics - Part III

Last week we discussed setting up your Google Analytic account this week we are going to check out our data.  It takes some time to collect data but at some point you will collect enough info to see what site visitors are doing.

Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and log into your account.  If you have several sites set up you will see a list of sites to choose from.  Select your site to launch the analytics dashboard.

Notice the left side has navigation, and the right area has the data.  By default you go into the overview.  You can dig deeper by selecting a category from the menu choosing  from: Audience, Advertising, Traffic Sources, Content and Conversations.   We are not going to dig into Advertising or Conversations right now because both require additional setup to even record any data.  For Advertising you could set up an AdWords program and track the success, and for Conversations you could set up goals and custom reports.  Since we did not set any of this up yet we don’t really have any data to look at.

Clicking on Audience will open several sub-categories, you can dig deeper in the navigation or click on topics beneath the graph. Getting an overview of Audience data showing how many visitors you have.   Beneath the chart there are numbers for Visitors and Unique Visitors.  A Visitor is anyone coming to your site.  A Unique Visitor is a new visitor instead of someone that has been there before. 

You can scroll down a little more to learn more about your visitors. Knowing things like: country, language, device, internet provider, operating system and even screen resolution can come in handy in future site development.  Just click on the topic and see the detail to the right.

Traffic Sources tell you how your visitors found you.  They could be Direct Traffic which means they just typed in your URL, Search Engine is finding you in a keyword search, and Referral Traffic is following a link from another site.

Beneath that you dig deeper by selecting Keywords to find out what search terms were used to find you.  In addition you can find which search engine was used, what referring sites are linking to you, and which page visitors are entering on.

Content will show pages being viewed and search terms can be very helpful to see how people are searching to find you. You can use this information to target even more of your market.

This was a general overview of all you can do with Google Analytics.  Really a lot to see so click around and discover who is visiting your site!  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Google Analytics - Part II

Last week we set up the general Google Account, this week we will set up the analytics account and link it to your website.  After this is done we can start collecting data.

Setting Up Google Analytics
Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ log in with the account info created in setting up the Google account and you will be taken to the analytics login page. Select Sign Up to add your first site.

Fill in the account name, URL, time zone and check all needed boxes. When all looks good select Create Account at the bottom.

You should see your official site analytics page, which might look similar to this:

The account is set up now there is just one more step to link up your site.

Adding the script to your site
Scroll down the new account page to find the code that needs to be added to your site, this code is specific for your account.  Copy everything including the <script></script> tags, this will be pasted in the code of your site.  Typically this kind of code should go in between the opening and closing <head> </head> tags.

Continue pasting this script in all the pages to be tracked by analytics just like we did for this one page.

Finally load your edited pages on to the hosting server and you are all set to start collecting data!

Next week we will look at the data we collect and get some general ideas on what we can do with it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Google Analytics - Part I

One of the best tools for anyone doing online business is Google Analytics.  Once all is set up it will give you a lot of valuable information about your website that you can use for site improvements, targeting markets and driving traffic further in your site for sales.  In this series we will discuss first how to set up your own account and then dive into what the data means and later how to use it.

In setting up your account go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ to get started.  In the upper right you will see Create an account.  If you already have an analytics account and just want to add a site then you may log in and add one to that existing account, or if you are registered with Google for a different product then you don't need to set up another account. You can just add analytics to that account.  We will learn how to do that next week.

Setting up a general Google Account
First let's set up a general Google account, select Sign Up in the upper right corner. You only need to add basic info to get your account up and running, so fill in the form and select create my account.

Now you should be on the Google home page.  Mine has a list of all the sites I have set up, but if you set up a new account your page might look something like this:

Really Google has lot of great tools that can be added to your account that can make productivity smoother, and you can link up all accounts so managing can be done in one window.  Ok, we are totally emerged in GoogleLand now!

Next week we will set up our analytics account and link it to our website so we can start collecting data.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Template Store

I'm excited to finally get the template store up and running. There is a tab on this blog that goes to http://www.digitalzenblog.com/p/templates.html or you can check out the template store.  I am working on some cool new tutorials to help you get up and running with template creative or really any internet creative.

To get the ball rolling a special offer for special blog readers!  ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is Silverlight?

Switching gears a little let’s look at Silverlight.  Actually a free Microsoft plug-in Silverlight uses the .net framework.  Used with Microsoft Visual Studio it allows rich interactivity and robust streaming media capabilities.  Similar to Flash you can develop cross platform, device specific web apps.

An impressive array of industries use Silverlight to build their web presence into a user experience.  Features include data smoothers to provide a high definition smooth stream, user friendly formatting tools, rotatable 3D perspective plane, and hi-res zooming technology.  In addition there are an array of out-of-the box controls like charts, containers and media that are fully skinable.  Silverlight apps are delivered to the web with XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language).  XAML uses Namescopes to store actual Objects and their interactions.

A great way for a nonprogrammer to take advantage of Silverlight capabilities is to purchase and download a template, which could prove to be more affordable than hiring a programmer or fighting with code.  Into templates and app templates have the legwork done and ready for you to use.