Do you want to know how to monitor website traffic? Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business and in this article, we will talk about how to monitor website traffic. The general reasoning is that the more targeted traffic you can get to your website, the more money you can make with it if that is your end goal.
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If you want to know how to measure your website traffic, this article goes through seven different analytics tools starting off with Google’s own tools then looking into other alternatives available in the market. There are quite a number of tools out there but not all may fit your individual needs.
Being able to measure your traffic, where they are coming from and their behaviour once they are on your website is invaluable. We will look into why this is so important and how you can effectively measure these metrics.
Why Do you Need to Monitor Web Traffic?
Not all traffic is created equal. For you to benefit from the visitors to your website, they have to be the right kind of visitor. What I mean is that they need to be a customer who will eventually make you money one way or the other.
Traffic from certain sources generally tends to perform better than others and you want to measure the quality of your traffic and adjust accordingly in the event it is not the type you want. Most traffic tools will be able to show you where the traffic is coming from and which pages they visited on your site.
People visiting your website is one thing but what do they do once they reach your website? Do they spend time on your website or they just leave as soon as they get there? All this information is important and I will be sharing why as we progress with the article.
How to Monitor Website Traffic – The Tools
Now let’s look into the tools that you can use to monitor website traffic. I will be sharing about seven different web analytics tools that you can use. This is, by no means, not an exhaustive list but I just picked these four for their specific feature sets.
In many ways, Google is the holy grail when it comes to getting website traffic. People who go to Google are looking for information that they deem to be important and in a lot of instances are willing to spend money in search of that information.
Getting yourself in front of this traffic is one of the best things you can hope to do. Google is also one of the biggest sources of traffic to web pages. They have developed amazing tools in order to help you monitor your website traffic and to help you rank better in search engines.
The first of these tools is called analytics. As the name suggests, it is a tool that provides analytics for your website. The information that it provides is quite in-depth and measures not only the source but their behaviour while on your website.
This information is relevant to both you and Google. For you, it provides insight into which content readers are engaging the most with. For Google, it shows them whether or not to keep your posts ranked highly in the search engines based on whether or not people spend time on your site.
The ideal situation for you is for a visitor to spend time on their entry article as well as to visit other pages on your site. This shows Google that there is massive engagement and they will send more and more traffic to you over time.
Another tool that Google offers though not necessarily a traffic monitoring tool is the Google search console. The search console primarily shows you how your content is performing in the search engines.
It also shows your site health in relation to the external ranking factors that Google considers like backlinks. It will show you the number of backlinks to your site, which sites are linking to your content and to which content they are linking to.
To set up both Google Analytics and search console on your site, simply set up accounts by googling Google Analytics sign up then Google Search console sign up. You will be asked to complete certain steps to verify that the site is yours and you’re all set.
Google Analytics Alternatives
There are many other website traffic analytics tools that can also match what Google offers. Though Google offers a comprehensive set of tools, I sometimes feel that it can tend to be a bit complex at times and I’ve been at this for almost 2 decades now. It can be a bit overwhelming for newbies.
Over the years I have used analytics tools that are much simpler to use and understand and provide the relevant data.
AFS or Ad-Free Stats is an excellent web analytics tool that you can implement on your website. It was one of the first tracking applications I used when I started out online. It was free and didn’t display ads on your site which was the case with other services in the early to mid-2000s.
It has a simple interface which gives you all the data in one place which is one of the major differences between it and Google. All the relevant data is presented in summarised form right on the home page and you don’t have to work out different complicated pages which is especially useful for newbies.
You want the useful stuff to be presented in a simple manner and be easy to access especially for a newbie. AFS manages to do this is a great way.
If you run WordPress, you may also consider Jetpack. Jetpack is a very useful suite of WordPress plugins and among them is an analytics tool which does an amazing job of giving you the essential information as far as your traffic is concerned.
All you need is to install Jetpack on your WordPress then set up an account and you are good to go. I have been using this for a while and am really happy with it so far.
Kissmetrics is an analytics tool that is centred around showing you the customer journey. Instead of just showing you how many people visited your website and how many page views and for how long, Kissmetrics shows you the path your customer took.
You are able to see where your visitor came from, how they manoeuvred through certain pages then which link they clicked on their way out. This allows you to get a great picture of who your customer is and their behaviour thereby allowing you to get a clearer understanding of how to convert them.
Most of this data is available in Google analytics but the way it’s arranged makes it really confusing for a lot of people, me included. Kissmetrics allows you to pick out which data you want to view and leave out what you don’t want.
Clicky offers powerful analytics and user behaviour data. For a lightweight tool, it is quite powerful. Not only does it offer web analytics, but it also offers content analysis. It analyses your user activity by providing you with a heat map of where your users click on the pages they visit.
This data is extremely useful but the heat map option is only available in the premium version of the tool. If you run WordPress, it has a plugin that allows for easy integration. It comes free up to 3000 daily page views and after that, you will have to pay $9.99 per month.
Open Web Analytics is an open-source self-hosted solution for web analytics. It supports WordPress and gives you a host of additional analytics that are not readily available in analytics tools like Google analytics.
It also offers the heat map option so that you are able to track user activity in great detail just like you can do with Clicky.
There are, of course, many other analytics tools out there to help you monitor your traffic. I hope this has helped you in some way to understand how to monitor website traffic on your own website. Let me know if you feel there’s a specific analytics tool that you feel I should have mentioned in this article.