Performance analytics, also known as web analytics, is the examination of Internet data for the purpose of better designing a website and tailoring the user's experience. Tracking is usually performed using software designed to record website visitor information. Information tracked by performance analytics software includes visitor data, traffic data, and content data. Each type of data tells its own story about the successes and failings of a website or blog.
Generally, performance analytics is used to design online marketing campaigns for sales websites and to improve service websites to better serve the customer. Visitor information tracked by performance analytics includes visitor location, browser type, and operating system. A webmaster can use visitor information to determine location demographics of her website's visitors or track the type of technology generally used to visit the website. Knowing the type of operating system and browser a web visitor uses can help a webmaster better design her website to function best on the most popular browser or operating system.
Traffic data can include information about the pages users visit and links visitors use to enter and leave the website. Using traffic data, a webmaster can determine where traffic comes from and how they leave. This is where a webmaster would find out which search engine sends the most traffic to her website. Traffic data may also include information about which users clicked on advertising exit links on a website, and can help a webmaster better target a website to ad-clicking visitors.
Content data most often involves information about the content on the web pages. Commonly used content information includes popular pages, common keywords used to access pages, and popular entrance and exit pages. Observing user paths through a website can help a webmaster identify errors, ineffective links, or web pages that fail to engage the visitors.
Webmasters frequently use performance analytics tracking software to get website and visitor information. This type of software tracks web activity though code a webmaster puts in to her website programming. The code sends information to online tracking software, which presents the information in charts and graphs designed to help a webmaster understand and use the information.
Performance analytics trackers can be free or retail software. Software programs and websites used for performance analytics include StatCounter®, Google Analytics® and Piwik®. This type of software can give a webmaster information about many things, including the search terms, Internet service provider and technology used by visitors to the website. Using web analytics, a webmaster can determine popular pages on the site or site pages that tend to lose the visitor.