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Who visits your website or blog

From analyzing your RSS feed to counting page views to visual representations of where your visitors are clicking, there is no shortage of companies looking to help you better understand your web site’s traffic. In our latest “toolbox” installment, we analyze (pun intended) the wide variety of applications and tools available for keeping tabs on how your sites, feeds, blogs, emails, or even your intranet is performing.

As with our other toolbox articles, we encourage you to add other applicable links in the comments area.

Web Traffic Visualization

Visualization tools use a variety of methods to show you where users are clicking on the individual pages of your Web site to help you make design adjustments that emphasize the right links and content.

ClickTracks - Enterprise analytics software, shows visitor navigation directly on your site’s pages.

Crazy Egg - Provides visual “Heat Maps” to show where your visitors are clicking.

Indextools - Provides web-based analytics package featuring real-time reporting. The Path Explorer feature provides a visual overlay of how users are behaving on your site.

Intellitracker - Enterprise web analytics software including recently released IntelliMaps feature for visualizing user activity.

VisitorVille - Windows application that helps you visualize your web site traffic through a video game-like interface, for example, animated characters representing a visitor to your site.

Blog and RSS Feed Analysis

While a blogger with significant traffic should also make use of one of the many analytics packages listed, there are also a variety of tools specifically designed to help bloggers better serve their readers and advertisers.

FeedBurner - The most widely used tool for measuring stats on RSS feeds for blogs and podcasts, FeedBurner reports and trends subscribers, incoming links, and visitors. FeedBurner was recently acquired by Google.

MeasureMap - Provider of web-based tool for tracking blog traffic, inbound links, comments, etc. The company was acquired by Google while still in beta and is currently not offering new accounts.

Mint - An installable application for measuring traffic, referrers, and feeds, aimed primarily at bloggers.

Performancing - Aimed at small to medium size sites and blogs, provides data on individual visitors and tag cloud views of referring sources in addition to standard statistics.

Pheedo - Tracks stats relating to RSS advertising, including subscribers, number of views for different pieces of content, and conversion rates from the ads in your feeds.

Technorati - Measures the popularity of blogs based on the number of people that have “favorited” them using the service.

Market Research Data and Site Rankings

Want to see how your site stacks up against the competition? Several companies provide publicly available data and rankings on web traffic.

Alexa - Provides widely-reported and widely-criticized statistics on relative popularity of web sites, based on usage of those that have installed the Alexa Toolbar.

Compete - Uses a diverse set of tools for measuring traffic and popularity of web sites.

comScore - Market research firm that publishes reports on Internet usage and trends.

Hitwise - Market research firm, provides analysis on key websites in more than 160 verticals.

Nielsen//NetRatings - Offers web analytics package that compares your site with others in your industry. Produces widely followed research reports in dozens of different Web verticals.

Analytics Software Packages

There are dozens of companies that provide similar packages for measuring your web site traffic in great detail. From spotting problems in your registration path to seeing which content is most popular, picking the right vendor will depend largely on your site’s level of traffic, goals, and budget.

Clickability - Provides imWare, which includes web-based tools for adding Email This, Save This, and Print This functionality, and then provides stats on each respective tool and how it is being used.

Clickfox - Provides an analytics tool based on “artificial intelligence” technology that makes specific recommendations for your web site with a focus on usability.

Clickstream – Markets Datasherpa Web Analytics to hosting providers.

Coremetrics - Provides analytics software with a focus on delivering information on actual customer behaviors.

DeepMetrix - Provices LiveSTATS analytics software with versions for enterprise users, small business, and ISPs.

Fireclick - Offers analytics package that integrates with paid search engines, e-mail providers, affiliate programs and more in order to provide a consolidated view of all site activity.

Google Analytics - Google’s free analytics software. Includes tight integration with AdWords (see also: 27 Features that Make Google Analytics Best of Breed). Unlike some enterprise apps, the stats are usually on a delay of a few hours.

Hitslink - Around since 1999, offers a Professional and Enterprise version of their web-based real-time reporting package.

iPerceptions - Provides “attitudinal analytic solutions” looking at customer behavior both online and off.

Manticore Technology – Includes Web Analytics as part of their Virtual Touchstone “demand generation” suite.

Maximine - Offers full suite of analytics software to handle privacy, accessibility, site quality, legislative compliance, web standards enforcement and traffic tag validation issues

MetriServe - Web-based analytics solution, also offers gadgets for Windows Vista and Mac OS X to get up-to-date stats on your desktop.

Moniforce - Offers two versions of the webSensor analytics package, Enterprise for high traffic sites and a light version called Commerce.

Mtracking - Dubs itself a “visitor relationship management service” with two different analytics packages.

Nedstat - Offers two analytics products - a more lightweight service called Sitestat and enterprise-focused Nedstat Pro.

SPSS - Provides “Predictive Web Analytics” by providing lists of the visitors most likely to convert.

Omniture - Offers three web analytics products; SiteCayalyst for traffic analysis, DataWarehouse for list generation, and Discover for segmenting large chunks of data. - Provides a range of analytics packages from small to large web sites, as well as a free counter that anyone can use.

Optimal IQ - Provides Marketing Webtools, along with ClickForensics product for monitoring click fraud.

Quova - Analytics software with a focus on measuring the effectiveness of marketing strategies by geographic region.

SiteClarity - Web analytics with reports in areas including marketing, site optimization, and customer retention.

SiteCounter - Offers free stat tracking of key metrics like visits, page views, and referring source for sites with less than 250,000 visitors per month.

Unica - Offers NetInsight for enterprise-class web analytics and NetTracker, for small and medium businesses or internal sites.

Visual Sciences - Formerly WebSideStory (one of the earlier large web tracking companies), today the company offers the HBX Web Analytics package aimed at high traffic sites.

WebAbacus - Performance and Effectiveness product provides a variety of analysis of designed-focused reports.

WebSTAT - Provides installable client-side analytics package that includes more than 40 canned reports.

WebtraffIQ - Analytics package tracking site traffic, effectiveness of emails, and offline campaigns.

WebTrends - One of the top players in analytics since the early days, the company now offers multiple tiers of software packages for different size businesses and specific industries.

SiteMeter - Provides a basic free tracking service for measuring visitors and page views, and a premium version with more features with pricing based on page views.

Log File Analysis

If you would rather keep all of your data in-house and customize a stats package for your own needs, these solutions offer a starting point by providing an analysis of the log files on your server.

123LogAnalyzer - resides on your web server and analyzes your web site’s log files. Provides stats on visitors, geographic regions, popular content, etc. Starts @ $14.95/user.

Analog - One of the longest running stats packages, Analog is open source and provides basic statistics like number of visitors, referring source, and popular content.

AWStats - An open source, installable stats page, AWStats analyzes your raw log files to produce a number of graphical reports. The software can also be used to provide analysis of FTP log files and mail log files.

Webalizer - Downloadable, open-source analytics software that generates reports from your site’s log files.

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