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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Web-Stats (Hit Counters)

When you are working on directing traffic to your site, it is KEY to have a good web-stat program which will show you how many visits you have, who is visiting, what site or search term referred them to your site, how long they stayed, what pages they visited, etc.
The absolute best I have tried yet is Web-Stat. This stat counter is very easy to navigate, and it tells you all of the above data and more. It is very simple to log on and see who has been on your site recently, what site or key words they were referred from, where they are on the globe, etc. If you have one of the better accounts, it also tells you exactly which pages they visited and how long they stayed.
With a free trial the first month is free. After that, it starts at $5.00 per month. If you can afford it, it is definitely a worthwhile investment.

If you can't afford it, or if you want to start out with a free Web-Stat counter, here are some free ones I know of.
I have tried several, my favorite is
eWebcounter. You can create several free acounts on one logon, so you only have to log on once and you can then check 5 websites without logging off and on again. It is also very easy to navigate, and contains data which is missing from some webstat counters. It is easy to configure it not to count your own hits, and doesn't require that you use a cookie to do so. It even tells you what your current IP address is, so that you can easily block counts from your IP address without having to figure it out (useful to those who use various IP addresses such as wireless hotspots.) You can also see where your visitors come from, their paths (which pages they visited) and what website or search term referred them to your website. The free version even emails you once a week with your stats! It is the second best I found, the best being Web-Stat (as covered above).
My second-favorite free stat counter is www.histats.com. It allows you to keep track of more than one site on one account (so you don't have to log on and log off to check each of your sites). It includes most of the data listed above and is not too difficult to navigate (though it isn't as good as
Web-Stat). The main drawback is that the function for excluding your own visits from your web stats can be a bit confusing to figure out. Once you figure it out, though, it is worth it.
Other Web Stat counters:

www.webstats.com
(list of webstat sites)
Site Meter

Alexa Traffic Rankings (not exactly a webstat counter, but contains some useful data on your traffic rankings).
StatsSheet.com
www.statcounter.com
There is also a link at the bottom of this page for a free webstat program.

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