What’s in the analytics? The day you publish your small business website is just the first step in your online journey – a journey of constant monitoring and refinement. Not only does your website give your customers a place to find and interact virtually with your business, but it also provides you with vital information about what they liked (and didn’t like) when they landed on your page. The process of collecting this data is known as web analytics, and it’s a vital tool for growing your business.
Web analytics can tell you all sorts of useful things, like how many visitors your site gets, where in the world they come from, what devices they are using. Which web pages referred them to yours, how fast your site loaded for them, what they did when they arrived at your site, and how long they stayed around. This information can help you work out which of your content is most popular, which landing pages generated the most engagement, how much search traffic you’re getting, and much more.
Google Analytics is the number one tool for gathering your web data. However, while the free version likely has enough features for small-to-medium businesses, if you want the most powerful features, the paid version comes with a hefty price tag. At the other end of the scale, for smaller businesses, the volume of information that Google Analytics provides can be overkill. It’s also fairly complicated to set up, learn, use and maintain.
Are there alternatives to Google Analytics?
The good news is that there are plenty of other analytics providers outside of Google, both paid and free.
Woopra: Offering the ability to track people, customer journeys, trends, and retention, Woopra has a free entry-level plan that allows you to get comfortable with their software and maybe fully-featured enough for some small businesses. It also integrates with Salesforce and Google Ads.
Gauges: This analytics tool provides live user data and an easy-to-use interface. You can track your views in real-time and get insights about who is visiting. It also has a tool that analyses your content to tell you what is performing well. After the free trial, plans start at $6* US per month.
Clicky: Another real-time analytics tool, Clicky offers all the usual data tracking as well as nifty heatmaps that show you where your visitors are clicking on each page, and uptime monitoring so you’ll know straight away if your site goes offline. You can use Clicky for free on a single website if you have fewer than 3,000 page views per day, and paid plans start at $10 US per month or $80 US for a year.
Matomo: If you are uncomfortable with Google using your customer’s browsing data to serve their advertising platform, Matomo offers you a more private alternative where you own 100% of your data. What’s more, if you host Matomo on your own web server, it’s completely free. Alternatively, you can pay to use their cloud-hosted service, starting at $49 NZ per month. Regardless of which service you choose, you’ll get a huge range of analytics, including visitor information, browsing and purchasing behaviour, heatmaps, SEO keywords, A/B testing and much more. You can also import your Google Analytics if you are migrating away from that platform.
* Prices are correct as at September 2021.