As long as you have a website, you should be tracking the traffic your website gets – for many reasons. Knowing these details can help boost traffic, future growth and can save a massive amount of time by knowing which websites you should be advertising on, partnering with or commenting on blogs or forums. You need to know how visitors got to your site:
Knowing about other sites who refer traffic to you is vital to your website, it tells you who is helping you and who is not. Use these numbers to see which sites you should be putting more effort into. If you’re putting minimal effort into a site that gives you a good amount of traffic, then you may benefit more from putting forth more effort into that site and maximize your input:output ratio. On the other hand, if you’re spending a lot of time on a site that gives you little or no traffic, you will see it’s most likely a waste of your time and effort.
Your direct traffic is also good to know, but not as important as referring site data. Most direct traffic visits are from visitors who know your website address or have bookmarked it. This is good to monitor to see if your direct traffic increases. It is very good to have high direct traffic numbers, which means the visitors are coming straight to you repeatedly, instead of happening to find you on the internet.
When people search on internet the words they type in the search box are called keywords. Keyword statistics will tell you which keywords got visitors to click on, which brought them to your website. This data is also useful by seeing which pages were landed on most often, you will know
which pages/posts are more in demand and you can change keywords on less visited pages to potentially get more page visits.
Knowing which search engines refer you the most traffic is important because each search engine has a different algorithm. Your website may come up higher in rankings in one search engine over another. Most businesses should primarily concentrate on Google traffic, However; it may depend on the type of business and location. Seattle area businesses should also target Bing because Microsoft is located here and a mass of customers work here, which they primarily use Bing for web searches.
There are also many other helpful tracking statistics, such as visitors geographic location, what browser viewers are using, how long they stay on your website, what pages they visit, what page they leave from, how many returning visitors you get and many more. All of these tracking details ultimately mesh together and tell you how many unique visits, returning visits and hits your website gets. Each tracking platform calculates differently and has different tracking options. The list below will highlight some different tracking tools so you can decide what would work best for you and your website.
Analytics is the tool of all tools. This tool requires code insertion on all pages of your website that you want tracked. Nearly all sitebuilder platforms and WordPress websites have a place to plugin your tracking code, which makes it very fast and easy to get going. With this script you may potentially lose valuable data from visitors who may have certain codes disabled, have high security settings or may be on a mobile device that does not support a code. However, Analytics has so many statistics I could write an entire blog post on just that. If you want a stat, most likely Google Analytics has it. I love that Analytics is also visually pleasing for the eye. Not only do they have charts and graphs of all kinds, but they have a unique ‘page layout’ view that adds a transparent layer over your website showing you the percentages of clicks on your page links, so you can physically see where the clicks are, rather than seeing them in chart form (in reporting only, not the live website).
Ovaleye’s Web Hosting Stats
When you have a website hosted with Ovaleye, you also get complimentary real-time logfile analyzer to get advanced statistics. Ovaleye uses the AWStats Platform which is an extraordinary tool that requires no website verification or code insertion. Included in the webstats are helpful tools such as: visits, unique visits, hits, day of week visits, traffic rush hours, most viewed pages, entry and exit pages, and on and on. This tool is very useful and can be used by a website owner on any knowledge level. These statistics are very useful alone, or by comparing the data to Google’s data. Web server statistics are different than Google stats in a few ways; Some visitors may have certain code languages disabled, have high security settings or may be on a mobile device that does not support a code, in which the Google tool may not be able to track data. The downside is that web server stats also include administrative website logins and bot visits, which are not technically true visits. The most accurate results would be numbers somewhere in between web server and code/script tracking data.
This is another great tool that is simple to use and does require site verification, but not code installation. Webmaster Tools provides less data than the Ovaleye statistics, but is very useful. A few of the features I like are downloadable spreadsheets of links to and from your website, Google data such as pagerank and ability to submit your sitemap to Google; Diagnostics such as page errors, URL’s not followed and timeouts. There are also advanced settings you can configure to specify crawl rate, preferred domain name appearance, and more. This data is strictly how Google views your website, which is the most widely used search engine, but if you prefer another search engine perhaps you would prefer another tracking tool.
Between all of these tools, there is most likely one that will suit your needs best. On some of my websites I prefer comparing Ovaleye’s stats with Google Analytics and figuring my actual numbers are somewhere in between the two, whereas on some of my other websites I just use Ovaleye’s tools.
What is your preferred website traffic tracking platform?