How Many Visitors Is My Site Getting?

If you buy web hosting, and setup a site on it, you want to get traffic to it right? Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business, and without it, nobody will be seeing any of your great content, or buying any of your products.

So how do you check the traffic stats of your sites? Well one way, is to check your web host server logs. Each time a visitor comes to your site, an entry will be written to a log file on your server in a specific format. Now, you wouldn’t want to browse through this file yourself. That would be no fun. However, many analytic software programs have been written to analyze this log file, and present your traffic stats in an easy to read manner.

If your web hosting is using cPanel, then you should already have a couple of free traffic analytics tools available to you, Webalizer and Awstats.

Both are accessible from within your cPanel. Just click on their icon, and then choose the site on your server that you want to view.

Webalizer is the most basic of the two. Here’s a screenshot.

Webalizer Stats

Unfortunately, in my experience, the stats that Webalizer shows you seem to be an order of a magnitude higher than what your actual visitors are. This is because Webalizer includes visits from the many automated bots that crawl your websites every day.

AWStats also has the same issue with over-reported visits. However, it does include more comprehensive reports that make it a bit more useful. One thing I like to look at in AWStats are the Search Keyphrases. By seeing what keywords people are typing in to find my site, I can improve the SEO of my site to get more visitors.

AWStats Keywords

Alternative Web Analytics

Luckily, there are better ways of gathering analytics for your site than analyzing your web server logs. One alternative solution is to install a snippet of javascript code to the bottom of each page on your site. This javascript code can then communicate with a 3rd party server and track your stats this way.

There are many of this type of web analytics software out there, but two good ones are Google Analytics and Piwik. Google Analytics is probably the most popular, and it’s free as well. Not only is it powerful, but it provides you with some very easy to read reports. The big downsides to Google Analytics is that it doesn’t track stats in real-time and some people don’t like Google knowing more about their sites than necessary.

Piwik on the other hand is a very nice open source web analytics tool. To use Piwik, you need to install it on your web host. Piwik is a little more complicated to install compared with Google Analytics, but it does offer real time stats which is a nice advantage.

If you are looking to track your traffic stats, then I would definitely recommend going with a web analytics software like Google Analytics or Piwik. They are just more accurate than AWStats and Webalizer, and they look much nicer too.

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