Conversion optimization relies on knowing what’s happening when people land on your website.
- What actions do they take?
- When do they take them?
- Where and when do they exit?
- How long do they stick around?
These are just a few of the essential questions you should be asking. In this post, let’s take a look at some of the best free web analytics tools to help you keep track of the answers.
Google Analytics may be the best known free analytics program, and deservedly so. The sheer volume of data can be intimidating, but it’s easy to get started with basic reports. For more advanced users, custom reporting, pivot tables, and goal tracking can be accomplished quickly and efficiently. Keep tabs on bounce rate, traffic sources, page views, search terms and much more.
Piwick is a good alternative to Google Analytics if you’re not comfortable with Google. It’s an open source PHP MySQL software program that offers many of the same abilities. The installation process is a little more complicated, but once you have it on your server you’ll have access to detailed reports on visitors, page views, marketing, and more.
Clicky offers real time tracking statistics including heat maps, visitor activity, bounce rate, feed subscriptions and more. Both free and paid versions are available; the free version limits you to tracking one website with 3,000 page views maximum. Clicky also offers a mobile app that keeps your analytics info at your fingertips.
The free version of SmarterStats gives you access to all the same functions as the paid versions (activity reports, demographic reports, keyword suggestions, SEO campaign, etc.) but limits you to one website and one SEO campaign. If you need analytics for multiple sites per server, you must purchase the professional or enterprise edition.
Yahoo! Web Analytics includes near real-time data collection, full-featured analytics, visitor demographics and behavior reports, PPC campaign management and more. It’s customizable and stores data in raw form for flexible analysis options.
Keep in mind that each analytics tool will measure your data slightly differently. If you have two tools installed on your site – yes some of us are waaaay into the data – don’t freak out if they’re reporting slightly different results. If you see big differences, dig deeper, you’ve got a problem somewhere, but small differences are normal.
Web analytics tools make it easier to keep your eyes on the data, but it’s up to you to implement that knowledge into your online strategy in order to increase conversion rates.