Top 10 Web Stats Tracking Programs


In order to run a successful web business, you need to know your stats. You need to know how many visitors you’re getting, where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying on your site and so on.

The old adage “what you track improves” applies to the web. When you track specific numbers, you’ll be able to systematically improve those numbers. For example, when you track how long people spend on your website, you can try out different things to see if it increases the time spent on your site.

Every business needs at least one web stats tracking program. If you’re running a complex operation or if you don’t quite trust one method of tracking, you could run two.

Here are the top 10 web stats tracking programs.

Program #1: Google Analytics



Google Analytics is by far the largest stats tracking program on the net. It’s 100% free, provided by Google. Google Analytics can track all the basic stats, including page views, unique visitors, bounce rates, time on site, return visitors, the country people come from and more. Unless you have a reason not to use Google Analytics, it’s a pretty good bet for a basic and all-purpose stats tracking tool.

Program #2: Piwik



Piwik is a self-installed web stats tracking tool that works a lot like Google Analytics. It’s open source and 100% free. A lot of people who don’t want to use Google Analytics use Piwik instead. The interface is similar, as are the data gathering methods. Note that you do need to have slightly more technical skills to install Piwik than Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you only need to install a line of code. With Piwik, you need to upload the Piwik files, set permissions and make sure everything’s installed properly.

Program #3: AWStats



AWStats is a log file analyzer that often comes with cPanel installations. In other words, there’s a good chance you already have AWStats installed. Unlike Google Analytics which works based on firing a script every time someone lands on your page, AWStats gets its data by analyzing your log files. Your server logs every visit and page load when people visit your site and can tell you a lot about who’s coming to your site and what they’re doing.

What’s odd about server log analyzers versus pixel / JavaScript tracking is that you’ll often get very different data. For example, AWStats might say you’re getting 3,000 visitors a month, while Google Analytics might say you’re getting 2,500. This is one reason why people choose to use two stats programs – So they can get a more accurate sense of the picture.

Program #4: Clicky



Clicky is one of the most popular private web stat programs on the web. It offers all the data that Google Analytics brings to the table, plus a few unique features. First of all, Clicky provides stats data on videos and on Twitter usage. If you do social media marketing of any sort, the data Clicky provides can be a big boon. Clicky also gives you data in real time. Data from Google Analytics on the other hand can be delayed by as much as half a day. You can check your stats with a mobile app, so you can watch your traffic on the go.

Program #5: Alexa



Alexa isn’t a traditional web stats program. Instead, what it allows you to do is compare yourself to other sites on the internet or other sites in your niche. It also provides demographic and keyword information about virtually every indexed website on the net. However, approach with caution because some rankings can be deceptive. It’s entirely possible for a website to rank highly for a search term, but still get less traffic than a site that’s ranked lower. That’s because data is based on visitors that Alexa is able to track, not all the visitors to a particular website.

Program #6: Statcounter



Statcounter is a simple and easy to use stats tracking program. The program is free for small users and paid for higher volume users (250,000 pageviews and up.) The tool tracks all the most important data points, including unique visitors, return visitor percentage, popular pages and more. They have a number of tools that can give you more detailed data if your client has JavaScript enabled. They can show you the exact path each visitor took through your website, so you can learn more about how people like to browse.

Program #7: Sitemeter



Sitemeter is a very simple and straightforward stats tracking program. It doesn’t do anything fancy or give you in-depth statistics. The program basically tells you how many visitors you have and when they visited your site. It’s the ideal solution for people who aren’t very web savvy. If you’re building websites for clients, Sitemeter can be a good way to give your clients access to traffic data without overwhelming them to other statistics.

Program #8: W3Perl




W3Perl is a Perl based log file analyzer. It’s more complex to install than anything we’ve covered so far and is primarily meant for system administrators who want highly in depth statistics. If you’re technically savvy and can do the installation and management, this software can be a very powerful tool. W3Perl can read data from emails, FTP servers and web visitors. It can give you all the standard data, along with advance data like session analysis, heatmapping and filetype breakdowns.

Program #9: Tracking 202




Tracking 202 is one of the top programs for running PPC affiliate campaigns. Note that this is not a tracking tool you want to use unless you’re doing paid marketing. It’s 100% free. Tracking 202 runs based on SubIDs that are tagged at the end of each affiliate URL. It allows you to track each sale back to the keyword that generated the sale, as well as to the affiliate network and the affiliate offer. Furthermore, Tracking 202 has a “Spy View” that allows you to see traffic flowing in as people visit your site. If they convert, you’ll see that live as well. As far as free PPC tracking solutions go, Tracking 202 is definitely in the running for the top spot.

Program #10: Klout



Klout allows you to track your social media ranking. It analyzes your Twitter and Facebook accounts and tells you how much clout you have with people in your social network.Your Klout score shouldn’t be used as an indicator of your business overall. However, if you’re doing social media marketing, it can be a great way to track whether or not you’re doing well in terms of increasing your social influence.

These are the top 10 web stats tracking programs. We’ve covered programs for affiliate marketers, for beginners, for advanced sysadmins, for social media marketers and more.

Research Tools for Buying Websites


Doing your research is perhaps the most important part of the website buying process.

When you’re buying a website, you need to make sure that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for in terms of traffic and revenue. In addition, you should also do as much research as you can into how much the site can potentially make in the future.

Here are a few of the most powerful research tools you have at your disposal when researching a potential website buy.

Analyzing Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most common type of statistics program used by webmasters. It’s also one of the most common types of reports you’ll see when you’re researching sites to buy.

Here are a few of the most important things you should look for in a Google Analytics report.

Overall Health

The first thing to look at is the overall health of the website. You can get a sense for how much people like this site by looking at stats like the pages per visit, the bounce rate, the average time on site and the percent of new visits.



Traffic Sources

Another important thing to understand is exactly where all your traffic comes from. There is a huge difference between running a forum that’s mostly recurring traffic and a website that gets mostly new traffic from SEO.


Keyword Analysis

The keywords that people type in to get to your website can tell you a lot about the kind of people that end up on the website. It can tell you whether they’re buyers or browsers and what kind of information they’re looking for when they end up on your site.


Breakdown by Countries

One big mistake buyers make is not checking the countries that traffic comes from. It’s not uncommon to see a site listed that gets a lot of traffic – Only to later discover that the majority of the traffic comes from third world countries.

It’s possible to make money from third world traffic, but it’s important that you know where your traffic is coming from before you buy.

Detecting Link Types

Many of the sites you’re considering buying will get most of their traffic from search engines. Link building is the most important component of search engine optimization – Unfortunately, a lot of people take shortcuts.

When you’re buying a website that gets traffic from search engines, it’s important to do at least a basic analysis of its link structure. This will give you a good idea of how links were built to your site and what the risk of losing your rankings is.

If you’re buying a website with a lot of spammy links, there is a real danger of being delisted. On the other hand, if you’re buying a website with strong, relevant backlinks, you can afford to pay a bit more as the rankings will likely improve in the future.

One tool you can use to analyze the backlink structure of any given website is Open Site Explorer. These two tools both use their own web spider engines to build an index of the web on their own servers. They can then use this index to find backlinks back to a specific website.

Here’s an example of what an Open Site Explorer search result looks like:


Open Site Explorer has a unique feature called domain or page authority. This figure is designed to mimic PageRank. It takes into a large number of factors and gives you a number on how authoritative a specific domain or page is.

This figure is logarithmic. That means it’s much easier to go from 30 to 40 than from 70 to 80. This number is usually a lot more useful than PageRank, because it’s constantly updated while Google only updates PageRank a few times a year.

Overall what you want to look for are legitimate backlinks to your website from other sites in related industries. Try to avoid sites that are linked to from many spammy, low quality, unrelated sites.


Is the Industry Trending Up or Down?

checklistWhen you’re buying a site, you need to evaluate the industry it’s in. Avoid buying sites in dying industries or topics and invest in sites that are on the up and up.

One good way to demonstrate this is with the iPhone 3G. When the iPhone 3G was released, the very quickly got a lot of hype. People built sites around the iPhone 3G, and some buyers even paid as much as 30x the monthly income for those sites.

Of course, the iPhone 3G’s hype quickly died down over time to be replaced by the iPhone 4. You don’t want to be buying a 3G website based on the peak’s traffic, hoping it’ll continue to rise.


As you can see, the traffic in 2011 is about one fourth of where it was in 2008 when the iPhone 3G was unveiled.

Point “B” would be a great time to sell a website but a terrible time to buy.

Using Google Trends, you can easily identify whether an industry or topic is picking up or going down. If you’re in a dying industry or a short-term industry (as shown above,) you probably shouldn’t invest.

Predicting AdSense Income

If you’re buying a website that you plan on monetizing with Google AdSense, it can often help to try and predict how much you’ll earn by placing AdSense on a website.

First, take a look at the types of ads that might show up on your site after you put AdSense on it. You can do so using the AdSense Sandbox Tool.


Just type in the keyword or URL you want to check potential ads for.
To get an estimate of how much you might earn per click from Google AdSense, use the Google Traffic Estimator. To access this tool, you need a Google AdWords account.

Log into your Google AdWords interface, click “Tools” then “Traffic Estimator.”


Type in the keyword(s) you think people who’re targeting your site might type in. The resulting CPCs will give you a ballpark of whether your site will get high CPCs or low CPCs.

Keep in mind that these estimates are for Google AdWords, not Google AdSense. There isn’t a tool that can accurately tell you how much you can get per click from AdSense. Instead, using the AdWords Traffic Estimator, you can just get a sense for whether you’re in a high paying or low paying category.

If you really want specific numbers, you can use 30% of the Google AdWords bids as a rough guesstimate of your CPC. If the CPC is $1, expect to earn about $.30 cents per click on AdSense.
These are a few of the tools you might want to use to evaluate both the validity of the website’s traffic stats, as well as the earning\ potential of the website in the future.