Google Analytics is a hosted service for website usage analysis. It tracks how visitors find/enter your website, what pages they visit within the site, how much time they spend on each page, and where they go when they leave your site.
It’s free as long as your account does not exceed 5 million pageviews per month. All you need (like with all things Google) is a Google account. Creating a website’s profile is as simple as knowing its URL. Once you have entered your homepage URL, location, and time zone, Google sends an email confirmation including a snippet of code that should be pasted into each page of the site. The instructions explain that the code must be inserted immediately before the closing body tag.
Reports can be generated based on daily, weekly, or monthly usage. Each report includes detailed information about visits, pageviews, bounce rate, and average time spent on the site. Other analytic features such as iPhone visits and trend reporting can be included/excluded based on the needs of your institution. Data can be exported as PDFs, XML, or comma-separated values (CSV) for Excel.
Google Analytics is powerful, it’s big, I’m merely scratching the surface! However, getting started is easy and the potential benefits are vast. If you need to record web statistics, to assess online services, or redesign your website, you should read more, explore training options, and play around with this amazing tool.