Did you know that not all analtyics packages are the same? If you think they are, you should pit them against each other on the same site. This way you can see for yourself, the way they look at traffic and the way they determine what is a unique, what is a hit etc etc..
Why? One of the most crucial aspects of owning and operating a website, is the ability to understand your traffic. Your users. Your lifeblood. If you don’t know the most basic of information coming from your site, how can you speak to doing what is best for your users or for your site? Thats where solid analytics of your site come into play. If you’re selling a product on your site, then it is even more important to know things such as unique visitors versus sales and what the conversion rate is. If your metrics are wrong or are off, then it can skew everything. Or should we say skewer?
Some good Free software packages are of course Urchin by Google and then a popular one, but one that costs a bit of coin, is Webtrends. Two others that we have had success with in house, and both which are free are Statcounter and Onestat.
One thing the free sites will not give you is a more detailed drilldown of your traffic. the reports also may be limited and also the type of data they return is sometimes light. But if you are strictly wanting to know uniques, then the free one’s should be fine.
Between the group we mentioned above, you should be able to play one against the other to see which one is giving you a more accurate accounting of your most prescious commodity. People.
This is just another piece of the puzzle that needs to be in place for a successful run in the online world.