The short definition of Web Analytics is a set of tools and processes for collecting data through your web site. Although that sounds about as interesting as tracking average daily fingernail growth for Fido, Analytics become extremely valuable when you understand what you can learn and what you can do with that information. Maybe even a little exciting. There are three big-picture reasons to care about Web Analytics. First, they allow you to optimize your web site and marketing campaigns (i.e., make them better). A bunch of little changes can have a huge impact if they attract more (and better) customers and/or increase conversion rates. You've invested in your online marketing efforts for a reason --you may as well make them work for you. Secondly, Web Analytics support better decision-making. Gone (or fading fast) are the 4-hour arguments about which picture to use on the home page, whether potential customers should register before they buy, and if your online partnership with Acme is worth it. Analytics data can answer these questions and free up your time to argue about other things. The third reason you should care about Analytics is that you can better understand and respond to your customers. Where are they coming from? What are they interested in? Where do they go? Why won't they buy our liver popsicles? Knowing and acting on these things means you can better respond to market demands and improve your relationship with current and prospective customers. Web Analytics is a rich subject, and there is a lot to cover. I'll be sharing some of our lessons learned here over the next several weeks. My next post will address the next logical step -- how to actually implement Web Analytics in your organization. Good stuff.