3 tools to track your website visitors

analytics-mint-jetpack

Do you own or manage a website?

Do you know how successful (or not) your pages are?

This article will identify three tools you can use to track various statistics on your website.

You might not want to use all three, but it’s worth taking a look at them to see if they offer something that you can make use of.

JetPack

I’m going to start with the easiest one to install and get going.

This is JetPack.

JetPack site stats

JetPack is a free WordPress plugin created by the creators of WordPress itself! The plugin is available for both wordpress.com (WordPress hosted) and wordpress.org (self hosted) websites.

It provides lots of additional functionality from contact forms to a spelling checker.

However the functionality I’m going to focus on is the ‘Site Stats’.

How to install JetPack

To install JetPack, go to your WordPress websites admin > Plugins > Add new and type in JetPack.

Click the install button then activate your plugin.

If you don’t already have one, you will need to create a WordPress.com account. Then go to the plugin settings page and sign into your account.

That’s it!

Digging into the stats

Once JetPack is installed, you will see a new navigational item in the left menu called JetPack. If you hover over that item, you will see ‘Site Stats’.

JetPack new navigation link

The four most important aspects of these stats are your visitor numbers, top posts & pages, referrers and clicks.

At a glance

JetPack at a glance stats

The visitor numbers is the most prominent part of the page. This graph can display the data from the past day, week or month.

You can click one of the bars to view further information on that particular day.

Top posts & pages

The top posts & pages is one of the most important parts.

This is because it allows you to identify which pages are performing well – or not so well.

By clicking on the little graph icon within this section, you are taken to a page where you can view the percentage change, with all of the data in a calendar display.

This data can be very useful if you want to see the performance of a landing page or confirmation page.

Referrers

The referrers section is great to see where your visitors are coming from.

Unlike other web analytics platforms, JetPack will group all of the search engines into one item – this can be expanded.

This allows you to identify which networks and other websites are bringing you the most traffic.

Clicks

One of the last sections I want to draw your attention too, is ‘Clicks’.

This section will tell which external links people are clicking on your website.

This gives you the opportunity to identify topics on other websites that interest your visitors.

Mint

Mint isn’t free however at $30 (at the time of writing) it isn’t going to break the bank.

It also requires an FTP connection and a little bit of HTML knowledge – so not for a non-techie.

Mint provides a different way to view your statistics.

Different panels within Mint

It is most similar to JetPack as it provides you with instant data in a very easy to read display.

How to install Mint

Before you purchase Mint, make sure you double check that your hosting can handle it.

Once you have purchased it, you will need to download the files.

Before you upload these files to your web hosting, you need to change the database scripts.

These can be found in /mint/config/db.php.

The database can either be your existing one (with your Website in) or a completely separate one.

These files then get uploaded to your web hosting. If you are running WordPress, it can go in the same folder that contains the wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes folders.

You can now access your data by going to www.yourdomain.com/mint (assuming you uploaded into a directory called mint!).

Overview

Once you have installed Mint, there are four main sections – Visits, Referrers, Pages and Searches.

The visits section will show you the number of visitors that have been to your website.

It breaks it down into hours, days, weeks and months. This data allows you to target information at a time period when your website is most popular. E.g. my website get’s most visitors from 6pm (GMT) onwards, so I publish my new articles in the evenings.

The pages section provides a further breakdown of your visitors information. It allows you to identify which pages your visitors are seeing most. This is a great way for you to track how popular your latest articles are!

If you would like to see a working example of Mint, then take at this demo.

Peppers

One of the great things about Mint is that you can extend it with Peppers.

A pepper is like a WordPress plugin, it adds additional functionality to your Mint installation.

The ones I have installed are ‘Locations’ and ‘Local searches’.

Locations allows me to indentify which countries my visitors are arriving from, and the local searches are the search terms people use while on my website.

There are many more that I have yet to experiment with.

Google Analytics

The final tool I have for you today is Google Analytics.

This is extremely popular due to its extensive analytics features and of course, because it’s free.

I’m not going to go into too much detail on Google Analytics in this post as there are so many resources out there to help you, however I will highlight some of it’s features.

Google Analytics Overview

Digging into Google Analytics

Not only does it have all of the features of both JetPack site stats and Mint, but it has quite a few more.

You can view your visitors flow through your website; this means you can identify the most popular routes to, or from a specific page.

Social media information is presented; this includes referrals from a social network and interaction with a social button (like a tweet button) within your website.

You can also set up goals – This allows you to track how many people end up on a landing page, and how many of those convert into customers.

The goals provide you with a means working out the value of each one of your website visitors, and the social networks.

Because of the abundance of information that Google Analytics provides, the learning curve is still higher compared to the other analytics tools.

So what are you waiting for?

I highly suggest you take a look at all three of these tools.

If you are not technical in the slightest, then stick the JetPack for now. This provides you with the basic information you need to see whether your website is a success or not.

If you are a little more technical, take a look at Mint. This provides you with all the essential data you will need on a very easy to use interface.

Finally, if you don’t mind digging around a bit to familiarise yourself, check out Google Analytics – This is a robust platform that will have almost every feature you could ask for from an analytics tool.

Have you used these tools before? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments below. 

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  • Lead Liaison

    Hi Sam, thanks for the great article about tracking website visitors. I would like to add a 4th tool to your list. The industry calls it “marketing automation” or “lead management automation”; however, visitor tracking is typically a technology that is built into these platforms. Some vendors have real-time capability, some limit what they collect, some have visitor tracking as an after thought. Nonetheless, this is another technology that can help any B2B organization by presenting business visitors (not just ISP traffic). We wrote a blog post a few years back, http://www.leadliaison.com/best-practices/track-your-website/, which highlights the differences between this kind of visitor tracking technology and something like Google Analytics, which is one of your three tools. Hope this helps your readers!

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  • Pagefuss

    I greatly advice people to check up on Pagefuss.com. New analytics tool on the block and based out of Europe.