Whether you’re running a massive online retail store or a small local business, your Web site visitors provide valuable marketing information. With a Web site statistics and analytics package, you can determine information, such as locations they’re coming from, how long they stay on the site, what pages they visited and other information valuable for fine-tuning your marketing efforts. Many companies providing virtual server hosting ;have Web site statistic packages automatically added to your site, or you can opt to go with your own solution. Web site statistic scripts and services give you plenty of valuable information.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular and useful Web site statistic tools. You don’t install it directly on your web server, as Google handles the script hosting and reporting. Instead, you insert a small piece of code on the page or pages you want to track. This code reports your visitor information to Google, which parses the data and gives you a great deal of data analysis. You can track visitors by the year, month, day or hour; where they come from; what keywords they use; their browsers; their countries; and many other factors. Google Analytics also tracks AdWords information if you use the service in your paid media strategy. Like other Google products, Google Analytics has established itself as one of the best in its field, and you also don’t have to pay to use it. You do have the option of going with a premium support package if you’re using Analytics for enterprises or need a high level of support.
AWStats is pretty common to see bundled in with Web hosting packages, as it is a server-side installation and free. This statistics software isn’t the most visually impressive in the world, but it presents a wide range of statistical information in an easy-to-read manner. You can track your hits and uniques, the most commonly used pages visitors enter and leave your site from, search engines that direct traffic to you, worm attacks and authenticated users. Some other features in AWStats include plug-ins for expanding the data collected, CGI output, PDF export, Webmin modules and an unlimited log size. If you don’t like the look of AWStats, but you do like the information it provides, JAWStats is a plug-in that compiles the data into a number of charts, graphics and other visual forms of data analysis.
Site Meter is another option, so if you’re looking for statistics software that won’t bog down your site when the traffic gets heavy, this is an excellent choice. Site Meter comes in two service levels, with a basic free service and a premium service starting at $6.95. Like Google Analytics, Site Meter does not require client or server code installation. Instead, you put a tracking code on your Web site, which reports information back to Site Meter. Site Meter does limit the amount of visitors tracked at the last 100 visitors for the free version, and 4,000 visitors for the paid version. You get search words, referring URLs, location reports, IP addresses, ranked reporting and average charts.
What web stats program do you like using? Share in the comments.