The Best Way to Track Site Statistics

Spider's web with dew drops

What do your readers want? Without knowing the answer, you can’t make them happy. Tracking your site stats allows you you to make adjustments to thrill your readers.

If you want advocates, you need to read this post.

Hits Are Misleading

Tracking hits gives you an incomplete picture. Many of your “hits” come from non-human visitors called spiders. These “bots” collect information for search engines or leave you spam comments. It is important to know how many humans visit your site, what they look at, and why. Tracking hits doesn’t answer these questions.

Comments Don’t Match Traffic

Comments are also a poor way of tracking traffic. I have a page on ThomasUmstattd.com that is my most visited page. It gets hundreds of unique visitors every week. But it only has one comment. I have other posts that get no traffic but have over a dozen comments.

Analytics Are the Key

An analytics package like Google Analytics tells you much more than just how many hits you have. It answers not only “how many,” but also “who,” “where,” and “why.” Here are some popular analytics solutions.

Analytics Solutions:

  • Google Analytics – Free, accurate, and easy to setup. Google Analytics makes it easy to track the stats for several sites all at once. AuthorMedia Pick!
  • Woopra – Free, fast, and snazzy looking.
  • SiteMeter – SiteMeter has been around for a long time. Free package, but it does not give you much information.
  • WordPress.com – If you use WordPress.com, you already have an excellent analytics package. They even have a great video explaining how to use it.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics will give you the following information and more:

  • Where your visitors come from. Which sites refer the most people to your blog?
  • What your most popular posts are.
  • What search engines your users are using.
  • What keywords they search to find your site. Use this information to focus new content on those keywords. If you can “own” a word or phrase in Google, you win.
  • What part of the country they are from. You might be surprised how many international readers you have.
  • What browsers they use. Make sure your blog looks good on those browsers. Not everyone uses Internet Explorer.
  • What pages they visit, and in what order. Do people just visit one page and bounce away or do they go from page to page?
  • What pages have the lowest bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting that page.

Tweetables: 

  • Hits are misleading. How to really tell how many people are coming to your site. Click to Tweet!
  • Don’t use hits or comments to measure site traffic. Use analytics instead. Click to Tweet!
  • Now I know how to measure visitors coming to my site. Here’s how. Click to Tweet!
  • If you’re using hits to measure site traffic, you’re doing it wrong. Click to Tweet!

What do you think?

What do you use to track site visitors? Do you like it?