Can Small Businesses Easily Take Advantage of Web Analytics?

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September 24, 2012 by Scott Innes

We all know that data exists for any website that is live today. The website tracks everything from number of visits, to time of visits, how the visitor got the the website, and everything in between. The only problem that exists is that this data is embedded in a complex data log which is nearly impossibly to read. Software to encode this data must be expensive, right? Well, as I have found out, it is free!

Websites like Google Analytics, Piwik, and Yahoo! Analytics provide this service for free. In exchange for the service, however, they will have access to the data for their own use. Now that these services exist, how can small businesses take advantage of the information available?

I talked to my close friend whose family runs a chain of large local grocery stores in my local area. For security purposes, he requested that I keep his name and company anonymous, so let’s call him “Joe” and his company “Grocery”. Bob told me that his company does have a basic data collection resource (he could not recall which one) which collects the same information that the websites mentioned above would. However, he also stated that the information gathered does not provide Grocery with any useful data. Bob stated that the time spent on gathering the information would be be worth the information gathered.

There is almost an unlimited amount of data available from using these services (I’ll let them market themselves so you don’t have to read all the benefits!). I simply wanted to note that the information is easily obtainable and understandable. Even a computer illiterate business owner could gather data related to their online clientele. This data can be leveraged to get a competitive advantage over their competitors.

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