Website traffic - free website statistics
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Website traffic - free website statistics

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It's a rhetorical question, but do you REALLY need to know what your monthly (or weekly) website traffic is?

I'll go ahead and answer it anyway - of COURSE you do! If you are not actively monitoring the traffic to your website, you should be.

There are several ways to do this, but the easiest way of all is to use the logs from your current website hosting company.

Option #1

Website traffic statistics Any good website host will offer free website stats as part of your hosting package. For example, Quadra Hosting has a choice of two - Webalyzer or AWStats. Personally, I think AWStats is far superior.

Option #2

The second way is to ask your website design company to install Google Analytics on all your pages. I highly recommend this because the stats are aimed more at helping you discover how people are using your website, plus a whole lot more, including being able to generate custom reports for an even more in-depth look at your site traffic. And, of course, Google Analytics can work in conjunction with your Google AdWords campaign (if you run one).

Important!!

If you install Google Analytics, ALWAYS monitor your server statistics as well. They will tell you stuff your Analytics can't. For example, 404 errors (page not found), or redirects you may have forgotten about and need to sort out.

Website Traffic Server stats can also alert you to potential "hack attacks" - people trying to get at your website's backend by trying different a "work around" and generating errors.

You should be aware that your server stats and your Google Analytics stats will never match. For example, last year according to Google Analytics, Justweb received 201,417 unique visitors, yet AWStats showed 246,343 unique visits. This discrepancy can be put down mainly to bots and web crawlers, such as used by Google (Googlebot).

Option #3

The third option is to use another third party website traffic logger to monitor your stats remotely. To be honest, I can't think of a situation these days where this would be necessary. They can also slow down your site. Google Analytics is remotely run also, however I'm sure the Google "Gods" provide more than adequate bandwidth so your site speed is not unduly affected.

Summary

To summarise, use a web hosting company which provides server side stats free of charge. If you can, install Google Analytics and get to know (at least) the basics of reading the reports it provides.

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Rob - JustWeb

03.01.2010


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