The process of tracking visitors and readers is a large topic, and there are many statistics packages and options out there. They all have their own Pros and Cons. Some just track visitors, others track track every little item that you could possibly hope to track (which isn’t ALWAYS a good thing). I hope to touch on a lot of them at some stage. But first, an introduction.
A nice, short description is provided by Bagatrix:
“Statistics: The science of collecting, organizing, and analyzing data.”
When you refer to statistics for websites, generally you are referring to the tracking of visitors to your site, whether it be a blog, an online shopping site or a news site. Depending on the statistics software you use, you could track when a visitor arrives on your site, which pages they view, where in the world they are from, and how long they stay on your site… There are a lot of other statistics, but these are the major ones in my mind.
You basically have 2 options when using a website statistics package:
1 – Host the statistics package on your own server.
Example: phpMyVisites – You install this package on your server, add a small piece of code to your templates, and logging is stored in a Database that you maintain.
2 – Use the statistics package provider to host the stats, and you can view them via their tools
Example: Performancing Metrics – You add a small piece of code to your web pages, and data is stored on the Performancing Metrics servers. You can then log into your account on their site and view all your stats.
Why would you want to use statistics? Well, the main reason is to see if you actually have readers, and, if you do, how many and where they came from. For example, it would be interesting to know if you have any other websites linking to your site, and if visitors are coming from these sites. It is also a REALLY good thing to know what pages on your site generate the most traffic. Remember, this site is all about making money, so knowing what your readers want to read is always helpful
There are quite a few statistics packages out there. Some only track visitors to your blog, others have a lot more functionality. It also might depend on whether you are willing to pay for your statistics. Browse around and see what is on offer there. I tried quite a few tracking tools before settling down. I will write about my opinions in another post.