Five Free Tools to Monitor your Site

Website statistics offer the unique opportunity to track exactly how others are finding and interacting with the content you produce. Without them, you’re flying blind as a blogger or relying solely on direct feedback. While direct feedback can be valuable, it also represents a small portion of your readers. Monitor your site with an analytics program and you can have an advantage.

As a blogger, you have several free options. This article will take you through just a handful. I’d suggest trying out different tools until you find the one that’s easiest for you to navigate and understand. They all have their pros and cons!

1. Google Analytics

This is the stats tool everyone talks about. It’s free and comprehensive, plus it’s tied into all Google’s other products and tools so it can give you great insight on your web traffic. It’s not a real-time stats tool, so you’ll probably want to install a stats monitor below in addition to Analytics.

Installation: (WordPress and Blogger) Back to Basics: Setting up Google Analytics on your Blog

2. Sitemeter

Installation: How to Add Free Site Meter Counter to Track Visitors. This is for Blogger blogs, but follow the same directions on WordPress blogs. Just add the HTML to a widget in your sidebar or into your footer.

3. Clicky

Installation: Their set up process should walk you through installation!

4. Woopra

Woopra Installation Guide

5. Piwik

This is free, open source software that must be installed on your own server. This is a great alternative to Google Analytics for the technically inclined.

What’s your favorite web stats tool and why?

These are just five free options. Dozens of others exist!

Do you use any of these tools or do you have another favorite site monitoring system?

If you’ve tried any of these out, please let us know what you think!

About Lynda Giddens

Lynda is a blogger of 12 years and a self-taught amateur photographer living in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two young sons. Be inspired to learn more about photography on her blog, Daily Window. Follow her on Twitter, Flickr or Facebook!
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Comments

  1. says

    I am really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the structure
    on your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to look a nice weblog like this one these days.
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  2. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I forgot that I even had a Google Analytics account. Lol! I think I may also have something in Feedblitz, not sure though. How to read the stats is still very confusing to me. I am a new blogger so I am still learning. I am finding it very helpful though. Thank you for the other post on how to read Google Analytics reports. I will be bookmarking that to read again and again.

  3. says

    I love stats and use them to help improve my blog. But I have to confess that I’ve not heard of any of these tools expect for Google, which I make extensive use of. I think it’s main downside is that since it’s a Google product, it relies almost exclusively on Google data. Bing offers Bing Webmaster Tools which gives you insight into visitors using the Bing and Yahoo! search engines, but it sure would be nice to get all the data in one place. I’ll have to check out some of these other tools and see if such an animal exists. Thanks for the great info.

  4. says

    I just started monitoring more stats besides just my visitor count..I’ve started with Google Analytics, and it seems great so far!

  5. says

    I love Google Analytics and I sometimes use Sitemeter, I haven’t tried the others though – thanks for the pointers, I’ll check them out and see if I can find something I like better than Sitemeter.

  6. says

    This is great, thanks, I have to spend some time on it though as I seem to have an older version so it says I need to delete it first…I am a bit afraid to delete something so shall wait till the weekend when I have time…

  7. says

    Hi Lynda, as a WP blogger, do you know if you can use any of these tools if you’re free hosted by WP? My experience has been these only work if you’re self hosted. Any suggestions? Cheers!

  8. says

    Great tips, thanks! I’ve been using sitemeter for more than a year, but should add in some more tools like Analytics (I’m terrible about not paying attention to it). Thanks again Lynda! 😉

  9. says

    Thanks for this really helpful post! I use none of the above. I use Stat Counter. It’s quite comprehensive! But I’m curious as to whether or not Google Analytics might be better, so I’ll check it out.

  10. says

    I check my real time stats daily. The stats give me some real insight into traffic patterns, referrers’, etc. I use statcounter.com (previously used sitemeter). I do have google analytics but haven’t really done much with it…and really should do more with it. :-)

  11. says

    I use Analytics and Clicky for different uses. Clicky is so cool because not only does it show IP addys, but for some reason, it is just more intuitive for me.

  12. says

    Google analytics so far is simple enough and works great for me. It also has a some worpress plugin so I don’t have to add any code to my header or footer.
    That doesn’t mean I won’t check some of the others mentioned. Always good to try something new and compare.

  13. says

    I use both GA and sitemeter and like someone else said both give you good trending info. What I get frustrated with is the difference in number of page views between them.

    Great summary post here!

  14. says

    Interesting list, I’ve only heard of GA and Clicky but I’m interested in checking out the others. I kind of want stats for dummies alongs with my GA. Something that will just give me the most important details. GA is great though for deeper level analysis.

  15. says

    As a brand new blogger, I find this info intriguing. (But part of me doesn’t want to know my stats!) I guess I have some homework to do. Thanks so much for getting me started. DM

  16. says

    I do a combo of GA and Sitemeter. GA because it works all my other Google stuff and SM because it covers the stuff GA misses (like ip addresses).

  17. says

    JetPack is a GREAT plugin that can be used with WordPress.org sites now too. It will show stats right from your WP dashboard.

    In order to install it, you need to have a Freebie WordPress.com account. That might be confusing to folks who are only familiar with self-hosted WP blogs, but it shouldn’t be. Just set up a free WordPress.com account, then link it to the plugin in your self-hosted blog.

    :-)

  18. says

    I have been using Google Analytics but ever since I had a new blog design installed it’s not picking up my data! I don’t know why. I use Statcounter too. Thanks for the resources!

    • says

      When I got my blog redesigned, my GA code was removed (My designer just pasted a new template in and didn’t know about any “special” codes I’d added). Do a quick search of your template HTML to see if it’s still there and add the code to your template again.

      • says

        Thanks, Narelle! I checked and that’s exactly what happened! I reinserted it and it seems to be tracking again. Thanks for the help!

  19. says

    Google is my “go-to” for everything. I like having everything in one place, makes it easier for me to find it when I need it. I also use my Awstats in my cpanel.

  20. says

    I use a combination of Sitemeter, Google Analytics and Awstats. I’m just a little obsessive when it comes to making sure any one program is doing a thorough job.

  21. says

    Analytics is always my go-to resource. The fact that it now integrates with so many other Google products that many of us use causes me to depend on it even more. I don’t think any are 100% accurate, but as long as you refer back to the same one every time you can easily pick up on trends. As you said, it is not real-time. I use WP-stats to do any little daily checking.

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