Web analytics serve a very wide variety of purposes in today’s world of business, and it’s not just the big boys who are using these tools either.  Organizations of all shapes and sizes are looking to web analytics for answers to some of their most pressing problems, whether they are related to marketing or the effectiveness of teams or departments.

It is effective because most web analytics operations are carried out covertly (without alerting or informing users of what’s taking place behind the scenes), and thusly, they are able to gain greater insight into the minds of consumers and web users. Regardless, the purpose is to improve one’s understanding of web traffic and perhaps even improve web design in the process.

As far as IT is concerned, web analytics are extremely valuable tools which can be used to aid in developing better marketing strategies for a business.  In other words, for those IT departments who have staff on hand with direct training and/or experience with web analytics, it might be possible to significantly influence decision-making on the business end of the spectrum.   A lot of major companies are clearly aware of this and have been taking steps to ensure that they have specific teams within their IT establishment that are capable of delivering data which can be used to draw conclusions that might point toward better, or more-informed decision making.

Anyway, here is a list of what might be considered the top 5 free web analytics tools for generalized IT use:

Google analytics
Any list of analytics tools that doesn’t include something from Google is a bad list.  Right from the beginning, Google has been offering what is arguably the most valuable web analytics suite on the market to its customers for free.  Furthermore, Google analytics is widely considered to be one of the simplest services to use, and touts usage by over 50% of the world’s most influential and popular websites.  In short, no list of great web analytics is complete without Google.

While compete.com’s services are not all completely free, they do offer some great tools for accumulating useful information about traffic volume and so forth.  For those businesses that are ready to increase their budgets for web analytics however, they also offer a service that is able to identify your most eventful and influential keywords.

Facebook Insights
It could very well be said that Facebook is a company that built its value from their ability to capitalize on insights garnered from the use of web analytics.  So it should really come as no surprise that they would have one of the better free web analytics tools out there available for users to freely implement.  Given that this handy tool allows you to directly tap into real Facebook stats (and Facebook itself remains one of the most popular social media avenues), it’s clear to see where the value is and why it might be useful in the context of business.

Yahoo web analytics
Like Google, Yahoo is another company that’s built their empire around search algorithms, new technologies and strategic alliances with other companies.  Their web analytics offerings could possibly be even more useful that Google’s for certain types of users who like to get creative in their methods.  There is even a feature that let’s users gain access to real-time data, which would be extremely useful for those who are always in the process of creating new pages / sites and testing others for progress.

Twitter has exploded in popularity in recent times and clearly, they are doing more than a few things right when it comes to social media.  Since Twitter is now basically influencing the web in its entirety, it only makes sense (for businesses that are savvy enough to actually use Twitter) for organizations to use it as a resource.  Twitalyzer.com allows you to gain much greater insights as to the widespread effect that your account is having throughout the “Twittersphere”.

Hopefully, the aforementioned 5 web analytics tools will allow you and your company to not only keep tabs on your progress throughout the web at large as well as in various social media venues.  The overall effectiveness of your entire web-based operation might hinge on the ability of your IT department to provide solid intelligence gathered via web analytics.  After all, why make an uniformed decision when you can make an informed one, right?

Get your entire IT department certified in web analytics for much less than you think.  Click here to get started…

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