So, who's been visiting your website lately? What do you mean you don't know? How can you tell what's working if you don't have some sort of tracking in place? Measuring website traffic, also known as "stats," is how you know who's visiting your site, where they're coming from, how long they stay, entry and exit pages and more.
You need this information to make informed decisions about your site. You can use it to understand your guests' buying patterns and to measure effectiveness of your marketing and promotional strategies. It can also be used to show you which areas of your site are most popular and pages no one seems to visit. You can use this information to redesign your site and play-up popular pages while eliminating ones no one views.
So how do you get this valuable information? There are a number of ways to collect stats on your website. You can:
1) Purchase Software 2) Use a Free Online Service 3) Use a Paid Online Service/ Third Party Auditors 4) Use your own Web Host
Let's take each option one by one. First in group of choices is buying stats software. The problem with this option is hefty price tag. Most of good ones don't come cheap.
Webtrends.com - http://www.webtrends.com
The leader in stats software, they offer a variety of solutions for everyone from small business owner to large corporations. Prepare to shell out some big bucks depending on your needs. Visit site and download a trial copy.
Websitereporter.com - http://www.websitereporter.com
Professional website stats software with many options. Website Reporter 3.0 offers a free demo and runs on Unix or NT and only costs between 50 to 75.00. Tracks total hits, maximum hits and date, report traffic, top entry and exit pages and much more.
Fast Stats - http://www.mach5.com/fast/
At only 99.00, this one is in everyone's price range. Tells you who's visiting your site and does it very quickly. Includes a hyperlinked tree view report that graphically shows how visitors are moving through your site. Runs only on Win 95,98, or NT, but can analyze log files generated by Unix servers.
Openwebscope.com - http://www.openwebscope.com
Free to download and 69.00 to register. Easy to read charts and graphs tell you in an instant what visitors are doing on your site. View sample reports at site to get a feel for what software can do.
Now let's take a look at your options when it comes to free stats. Many sites offer free stats in exchange for placing a small banner or button on your pages. Many of them are really good if you don't mind small graphic.