For some sites, like my WordPress blog, built-in stats are included that are relatively basic in what they tell me. For other sites, like my main site, I have terrific in-depth stats through cpanel, stats that show exact IP addresses of visitors, countries of origin, time spent at site, etc. And for the rest of my sites I have nothing and all, no built-in stat monitoring. That’s when alternative means are needed to figure out how the traffic is doing.
In those cases, I use a free service called StatCounter. What is StatCounter? A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyze and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time.
Most of my sites, this one too, have a little StatCounter icon somewhere on the page. That tells how many visitors per day/week/year are visiting. Then I can do experiments to see what helps boost traffic the most. Maybe one week it’s concentrating on promoting my books on Facebook. The next week utilizing Twitter or Ezine articles or forums on my subjects. Then it’s time to watch the response from traffic, whether it’s staying flat or experiencing sharp spikes, and I get a sense for which efforts are paying off with increased traffic.
For example, as soon as a blog post goes through with WordPress or Blogger, a quick rise in visits are almost guaranteed as people around the world get a glimpse of any post. Conversely, if I spend a bunch of time on Authonomy (a writer’s forum) and get little results at a webpage I’ve attempted to bring traffic to, then that says Authonomy forum isn’t a great place to spend time and effort.
How to use StatCounter? Visit the site and follow the prompts to create an icon widget for your desired URL. Also make sure to check the box that excludes your own IP address so it doesn’t count your own visits. Then insert the widget with its code somewhere on your desired webpage. You can make it invisible or visible, allow people to see your stats or not; all choices are up to you.
It’s also fun, especially when more people start showing up.
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