Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Techie Tuesday: How-To Use Blog Tracking Services

Whether you're trying to promote a product/service or just blogging for fun, you should know who is reading your content if you want to increase blog traffic. I even added a tracking service to my personal blog and as such decided to make it private. There were random people staying, looking at my family pictures for hours...so now only friends and family can see! If you have a private blog, I recommend it.

But for a hobby or business blog, there are a few different ways to track the comings and goings on your website that can help you increase traffic. I'm going to share a couple I've used with you today.


Sitemeter is the service I initially installed on my family blog. I found it interesting to see all of the random visitors to my site and its weekly readings are what made me decide to turn my personal blog, private.Pros:
  • Free!
  • Tracks each and every person that comes to your site. Where they came from and where they clicked while on your site.
  • Send you a weekly email with visitor updates.
Cons:
  • Doesn't present the information in any type of graphical form- just a list.
  • Blog traffic is visible to anyone who clicks on their embedded logo on your homepage.
  • Tallies traffic from the moment you insert their tracking code, but doesn't account for past traffic you may have had.


Google Analytics

I {heart} Google Analytics. They track everything you could ever want to know about your website and present the stats in a readable and user friendly format. My favorite feature is the "Traffic Sources" option. With this feature, you can see every website that links to your site and how many visitors come from the respective site. They also have a map overlay which shows you where in the world your visitors are viewing from. Hello there my international friends!

This screen shot is an example of what a typical Dashboard looks like. You can see traffic sources, map overlay and trending in one glance.

Pros:
  • Free!
  • Shows you every site that links to you
  • Tracks which posts or pages do better on your site
  • Lists the words people have goggled to get to your site
Cons:
  • It's addicting! I'll admit that I check it once a day...sometimes twice.
  • I don't use all of the features they provide- too overwhelming.

Both Sitemeter and Google Analytics are easy to add to your website and are a MUST if you're looking to increase the traffic or want to know your target audience.

Happy Analytic- ing!

3 comments:

  1. I'll put my two cents in, since this is what I do for a living. Google Analytics is the best of the free options, for sure (I worked for a non-free option, SiteCatalyst). One very important thing to realize is that these trackers DO NOT show RSS traffic. If I'm reading your blog in, say, google reader (as many are)... it won't show up in your stats at all. Another is that some trackers (like feedjit, which is really popular right now- but not google) show hits from non-humans (web bots and spiders) and can scare people by showing traffic from strange places- but it's not a strange real human in russia reading your blog, it's their (harmless) web bot.

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  2. Thanks for the tip. I've been using sitemeter and histats, but have found it difficult to see exactly who my visitors are. Hopefully, now I can.

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  3. You have been so helpful with several things! Thanks so much. It is so hard to learn all this stuff!

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