Web Design Resources

Web Design Resources

Google Analytics

Google analytics is a free service offered by Google. It generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. Hence, the product is intended to help marketers rather than webmasters and technologists. Google analytics is considered to be the most widely used website statistics service. Therefore, it not only gives you a powerful insight into your website traffic but also helps in analyzing the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. 
If you have pages which are not performing well, Google analytics identifies the problems using techniques such as funnel visualization which is where visitors come from. Thereafter it identifies their duration of stay and their geographical position. In addition, advanced features such as custom visitor segmentation are available. Thus, for all these reasons, Google analytics is one of the best tools to use in order to optimize your website's performance. 

Technology
Google Analytics is implemented by including what is known as a "page tag". This is referred to as the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) and is a snippet of JavaScript code that the user adds onto every page of his or her website. It collects visitor data and sends it to a Google data collection server as part of a request for a web beacon.

Functionalities
To function, the GATC loads a larger JavaScript file from the Google webserver and then sets variables with the user's account number. The larger file (currently known as ga.js) is typically 18 KB in size and is only downloaded once at the start of the visit as it will be cached throughout the session. All websites that implement GA with the ga.js code use the same master file from Google.  A visitor that has previously visited any other website with this code implemented will also have the file cached on their machine. 

Other Features
In addition to transmitting information to a Google server, the GATC sets first party cookies on each visitor's computer. This is used to store anonymous information such as
  • If the visitor has been to the site before (new or returning visitor).
  • The timestamp of the current visit
  • What was the referrer site or campaign the visitor came from e.g. search engine, keywords, banner or email?