Now that we have your site up and we have taken some baby steps toward getting some visitors to your site, it’s time to manage and analyze the site. As luck would have it, there are plenty of tools for just these things and better yet, these tools are free.
There is an entire toolbox at your disposal at http://www.google.com/webmasters/
The first of these useful items are the webmaster tools which can do site diagnostics and basically give you an indication of how the site is working, which search terms are bringing people to your site and even show you if malware has been found on your site. Overall site performance (page load times) are also indexed and graphed.
The other tool is Google Analytics, which does require you to add a snippet of code to your pages, but the statistics gathered are very useful. Analytics gives you tremendous insight into your visitors, how they are getting to your site, how long they stay and what they view. With this data in hand you can hone your site, tailor it to suit your visitors needs and maximize it’s potential. You can also set “goals” – pages you want visited or actions you want performed (like filling out a request for quotation) and tune your site to funnel visitors toward those goals more effectively.
This is all very Google-centric and there now appears to be similar tools for Bing – but it is probably a better idea to tackle the Google side first due to it’s dominance in the search market. If you feel ambitious, look into doing something similar with Bing and Yahoo!
This is not a set and forget kind of thing, you should expect to check back frequently to monitor how your site is doing. You can also have Analytics send you scheduled emails to save you from visiting the site. It also not a bad idea to do the malware check regularly – it’s not always readily apparent to the site owner when your been compromised. All in all these free tools can help you or your webmaster really tune-up your site and give you far more information that just page hits.