Once your website is up and running, it’s always nice to know how many people are visiting your site. It’s also nice to know where your visitors are from, which pages are are viewed the most, how people are finding your site, etc.
There are several different site statistics tools that will help you do that.
AWStats shows me most everything I would ever want to know about my visitors. I can see how many unique visitors I have and how many pages they are accessing on my site. I can see which pages are my most popular and which search terms my visitors are using to find my pages. I can see where my visitors are located and which browsers they are using to view my site. And much more.
Another favorite is Webalizer. Although these stats sometimes give me more detailed information, I think they are harder to read, so I use AWstats more often.
Both AWStats and Webalizer come installed on cpanel with my hosting packages. Many hosting companies that offer cpanel will provide both as well. Both of these statistics packages are open source, meaning they do not cost you anything to install (donations are probably welcomed at their sites), so even if they are not available with your hosting packages, you should be able to install them yourself or hire someone to install them for you. Your hosting company may install them for you if you ask.
There are many other Site Statistic scripts available. Google Analytics is very popular. I personally haven’t used it because AWStats provides me with enough information to satisfy me for now. I understand that GA will give me even more statistics to process and will allow me to build my own goals to capture the information I need to help me better with my marketing. Many of my clients use GA, but so far, I’ve not had time to really dig in and check it out completely. It’s not something that needs to be installed at your web site, but is a small piece of code that you put on your web page, meaning each time someone views your page, Google is called in to monitor what they do. That’s probably my hesitation to putting it on my site. Anytime you call in another site, it slows the page down a bit – not much – but a little. It also gives Google lots of information about my pages and my visitors. That’s ok too, I suppose. It’s all part of their master plan to take over the world 🙂
These aren’t the only statistics programs out there, just the one’s I’ve dealt with the most. I’d love to hear about your favorites!