Keeping track of your web site statistics is an important way to know how well your site is doing. There are numerous tools that you can use to analyze both your own web site as well as the web sites of your competitors. This article discusses 4 of the most popular tools.
The most popular tool for web site owners to analyze their own web sites metrics on a web site is Google Analytics. This free tool from Google keeps track of how visitors behave on your web site. To setup Google Analytics you create a Google account and obtain tracking code that you install into your web site. Once installed it begins collecting information about every visit to your web site. All information is anonymized so while it collects information about the activity it doesn’t let you tie that information to individual users.
The following are some examples of metrics that Google Analytics can track and report.
- Users and sessions
- Average duration of sessions
- Bounce rate
- Organic versus paid sessions
- Average pages per session
- Statistics around new versus returning visitors
With Google Analytics it’s a good practice to exclude your IP address so that your own visits don’t count towards the reported totals. Otherwise your visits can skew the analytics and make them inaccurate, especially in the early days when you may be the primary user.
A popular tool for gaining insights into both your own web site and competitors web sites is ahrefs. They advertise their tool as being everything you need to rank higher and get more traffic, a common goal of most web site owners. The site helps you audit and optimize your web site, analyze your competitors and track your ranking progress, among other things. Seeing what your competitors are focusing on for their paid campaigns can be extremely helpful. The tool is also helpful when trying to do keyword research. It also has a very powerful backlink analysis tool that can let you see where competitor sites are getting their links from.
SEMRUSH is a powerful analytics tool for both your own web site and those of your competitors. It helps you uncover keywords to use, analyze backlink profiles and track your search rankings. Additionally, it gives you insight into the paid campaigns that your competitors are running.
The hotjar tool lets you install tracking code on your site, similar to Google Analytics, and gives you insight into how your users behave. It gives you visual heatmaps showing where users are clicking. One of the most powerful features is recordings that let you see the path that individual users took. The users are anonymized but you can see a sampling of users and the steps they took in their visit on your site.