Making sense of your traffic can be quite difficult! First, you have to decide what you want to track (known as KPIs). Basic web analytics allow you to track unique and return visitors, what pages on your site are visited often and how long visitors stayed on your site as well as the pages that were of most interest.
These are the very basics, simple information that can be culled using Google or any basic set of analytical tools design for tracking web traffic. For those who want the basic information, these may be fine but for those who need data that can provide true value, you may need to drill deeper to get more meaningful information.
Before you start, it is best to first decide on the criteria or the set of data you wish to track. If you are selling items on your site you can track sales volume. If you set up the right criteria you can track the number of users and what information drew the biggest searches.
Regardless of what you do, provide a service, or sell items online, you need to develop a rate of conversion or conversation rate to determine your final outcome. It can be the actual purchase or a series of events that you want the end-user to complete or act on. So analytics is important it could mean the difference between life and death on your site. It can tell you what you need to change or what needs to be done or included in your site to increase traffic. In later posts, we will talk more in-depth about analytics.
In the meantime take the free Google Analytics training, it will help you understand the basics of what you need to know.
If you do hire an agency at least you can speak their language and will not be duped into buying snake oil.
Even an experienced guy like me takes refresher courses, this allows me to see even the small changes made but I do not mind doing refresher courses especially if they increase my knowledge base.