When you start a blog or create a website, you want some way to track your blog’s traffic and statistics so you can see how things are progressing compared to your expectations. Based on what you find buried in your stats, you can take steps to guide your statistics (traffic) in the right direction.
Here are six tools to track your blog’s traffic and statistics. Most of these trackers require you to place code in your blog or website file where it sees the code with every page refresh. Typically, right before the HTML </body> tag.
Awstats usually comes with a web hosting package. For instance, my web host, HostGator, comes with Awstats and you don’t have to load any code into your blog or website. Since the site is hosted on Host Gator, they have the built-in ability to track site statistics.
Now, a lot of folks seem to agree that Awstats, reports higher numbers compared to other site tracking tools. Which can be good when you’re a new blogger or have a new site because you feel pretty good about the numbers when you watch them in Awstats.
In Awstats, I take a quick glance at the unique visitors per day and page views for the month. But, there are plenty of other numbers to watch, like when the search engine robots come along and index your new stuff on your site. You want to make sure that is happening.
That’s about it for Awstats. If you have Awstats with your web host, spend some time looking at and understanding all the numbers they provide. But know, that some of them might be a bit higher than reality. And that’s ok. 😉
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the king of site statistics tracking for me right now. Not only is it from Google, the search engine master, but it offers a very comprehensive view of various site statistics you’ll be interested in tracking.
The opening page of Analytics offers an at-a-glance dashboard that displays number of vistors in a date range chart, total visits, page views, page views per visit, bounce rate – which is visitors who arrive on your site and leave pretty much right away, and average time spent on your site. These are a just some of the stats Google Analytics tracks.
Other detailed tracking numbers are categorized in a sidebar that includes traffic sources – direct visitors to your site, search engine traffic and other sites who are referring traffic to your site.
Another number that is excellent to watch and study is the keywords section. This will show you the keywords that are used by visitors searching for information that led them to your site. You can use this information to tweak content so you show up (rank) in higher positions at the search engines.
But just remember that keywords are an attribute of your content and if you over do it, the search engines will whack you by ranking you lower if you try and trick out your site with tons of keywords, which is known as keyword stuffing.
That’s just a very little sampling of what Google Analytics offers.
Woopra is addictive to use. I believe they are still in beta and don’t accept requests from everyone who wants to join right away. You never know if they will or won’t.
Woopra has a live tracking mechanism that displays real-time stats. That is the addictive part. You can get caught up in staring at the screen, yelling, “Go, Go!! I want more traffic!!”
You can see things like where visitors came from and what they clicked on like most stat tracking sites, but there’s something about the whole real-time view that keeps you glued.
StatCounter is a free stat counting site that also has a pro version you can pay for. But the free version offers enough information and displays that information in a bar chart. Below is a screen shot of their sidebar and the features that are included to help track your blog statistics.
The free version only displays so many visits per day, but is still a great way to track visitors if you have a new site and are interested in a quick glance of your site’s traffic.
You’ll want to make sure to exclude your IP address in the setup so StatCounter doesn’t track all your visits. That would skew your true visitor stats.
HitTail is a site that tracks the keywords people use in search engines that refer visitors to your site. It keeps track of those keywords and shows them in a list that is ordered from most popular keywords used, to the long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are the keywords you want to pay attention to because that is what could drive more traffic to your site. We all pay attention to the top keywords that bring search visitors to our site, but some of the search gold is in the long tail.
The long tail is a bunch of keywords that rank lower on the list but make up more keywords that could possibly bring more visitors to your site.
HitTail keeps track of all those keywords. There is a free version and a paid for version.
A nice feature of HitTail includes a list of suggested keywords or keyword phrases that you might want to consider creating content for. This is nice because the work is done for you as far as long tail keyword discovery. Now you just have to create the content to take advantage of those long tail keywords and phrases.
6. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is awesome. Crazy Egg allows you to create a dated project of how long you want them to track stats for you. Crazy Egg offers a visual history of what your visitors click on.
Crazy Egg features include Overlays, HeatMaps, Lists, and what’s known as Confetti.
Overlays – include a window of statistics where users clicked on the pages of your site. It includes how many clicks and other information that tells you where visitors were clicking the most.
HeatMaps – dim your page and show the intensity of the clicks from your visitors. The brighter the clicks the more your visitors click on those areas of your site.
Confetti – shows a bunch of little round dots that are colored differently that represent intensity of the clickable areas your visitors clicked on.
That’s an extremely short description of Crazy Egg. There’s much more there and it’s a great way to display different statistics for your site – visually.
This product is not free but is very cool if you want to spend some money on a tool like this.
Now, with all these cool blogging tools, what you don’t want to do is load a bunch of tracking code that slows down your site when visitors come to your site.
When that code loads it reports back to the site tracking statistics for you. Hopefully that site is speedy so your visitors don’t experience a page that slows down or even stops because of the statistics site tracking code.
My personal guide is to use one stats tracking package, which is Google Analytics at the moment. Then I’ll try a new one along side Google Analytics at a time, for a specific time period to see what different tracking sites provide.
Ultimately, “Statistics are like bikinis, they reveal a lot but hide the vital spots.” Use site statistics wisely and don’t let them control your life by constantly watching and worrying. 🙂 Don’t get caught up.
Make a plan on what you want to happen for your site and adjust your content as things happen or don’t happen.
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Photo Credit: net_efekt