The Best FREE Tools For Tracking Visitors To Your Blog

istock_000006683555xsmall Over the years I have used many traffic tracking tools for my sites. In a nutshell there is no one tool that’s better than the other. During the initial stages of your site you can probably get away with some basic tracking but as you start gaining momentum you will be compelled to analyze all kinds of numbers.

Tracking is a critical function in marketing and not many newbies invest time into it. Every one of my blogs are enabled with at least two traffic tracking tools. Sometimes even three.

Google Analytics. Very powerful tool. Probably used by the entire internet world. There are many good things about google anlaytics and I will run out of space here praising it. The best stat I derive from google analytics is the “Bounce Rate”. The amount of time a user spends on my site before leaving it. The lesser the bounce rate the more the users are staying on the site. My most favorite tool. Its free(there are paid options available too), its easy to configure and works very will with a blog or a static site. I have been using statscounter since 2005 and I recommend it wholeheartedly. As I mentioned the best thing about statscounter is its real time. In other words you get to see what keywords people have used to land on your site as they come in, which pages they visited and at which point they left the site. You get a complete foot print of the user interaction pattern as it happens. A service by yahoo to which you can connect using your yahoo account. Mybloglog as the name says is a very effective tool, not only for tracking your traffic but network with other bloggers also. The free version provides you 24 hours delayed stats. I have used the paid version ($25 a year) for one of my sites.

The best strategy is use all three of them on your site. Statscounter will provide instant data, mybloglog data is delayed by 24hours. Google Analytics will provide additional insightful demographic information.

While all the tools provide clear instructions on how to emebed the tracking ( usually Java Script) code into your blog, some people find it confusing to edit their theme.

The best place to embed the code is the footer.php file right before the tag. Provided you are using wordpress. The good thing is Footer.php is included in pretty much all pages & posts and this ensures that the tracking script gets executed as a part of the page loading process.

If you are using a static site, you probably have to put the code in every file, which could be little tedious.

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