Digital Marketing

Jan 15, 2009

The Best Free Website Analytics Tools

The Best Free Website Analytics Tools thumbnail

Measuring Load Time

1. Octagate Site Timer: Allows you to monitor how long it takes for a user to download one or more of your web site pages.

2. URI Valet: Calculates page load time and time-to-download on various connections, and reveals your server headers, internal links, and the size of every object/image on a page.

xHTML / CSS Validation

1. W3C Markup Validation Service: Checks the HTML/xHTML markup of any web document, which is great for making sure you don’t have any major ‘grammar mistakes’ that will keep a browser or robot from properly viewing/crawling your site.

2. W3C CSS Validation: Checks your CSS validation of any web document; use it for the same reasons as above.

Net Rendering: see how your site looks in other browsers

1. Browser shots: An open-source service that renders your website in Linux, Windows, Mac and BSD browsers. The only super-annoying thing is that it can take several hours to receive your rendering results, because after submitting your address its added to a job queue that runs it through a number of computers in their network, which take screenshots of your site and upload them to the central server.  A GREAT tool but a little frusterating if you’re as impatient as I am.  Anyone know of a better one? A good rendering tool is hard to find.

2. NetRenderer: Renders your website in IE5.5, IE6, IE7, IE8 and allows for overlay comparison between IE6 and IE7.

Traffic Statistics

1. Google Analytics: GA stands apart from the field and I give it the highest recommendation.  It’s well-supported, has a great UI, great reporting tools, and allows you to view all your sites from one platform. One downside is that it’s javascript-based and isn’t hosted on your server, so it’s not as insanely accurate as tools like Piwik and Firestats, for example.

2. Yahoo Web Analytics (formerly IndexTools): This just launched at the end of 2008 and runs head-to-head against Google Analytics (duh.) I have yet to use it, but one major benefit is thatit offers real-time tracking (I usually see a 1-4 hour lag on Google Analytics.) I’m drunk on Google kool-aid so I think I may check this out later today.

3. Piwik: An open-source PHP MySQL web analytics program that you download and install on your web server. They aim to be the open-source alternative to Google Analytics (GA).

4. Firestats:  Offers similar enefits of GA, but “protects the privacy of your users, unlike Google Analytics” (note: free for non-commercial usage, $25 per installation for commercial usage)

5. Woopra: Live tracking, beautiful interface, real-time analytics and a GA-like ability to manage multiple websites.

6. Snoop: Javascript-based tool that gives you real-time notificaticatio, audibile event alerts, and name tag integration (allows you to tag IP address with a name)

7. AWStats: A down-and-dirty traffic stats tools that could have a much better UI. They recently launched JAWStats, which runs in conjunction with AWStates and produces “clear and informative charts, graphs, and tables about your website and visitors…”  don’t all these other traffic tools do that out of the box?

8. Clickheat: Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of these other tools, but creates a really cool visual heatmap of clicks on a HTML page, showing hot and cold click zones.

Traffic Rankings

1. Alexa: The definitive resources for tracking  traffic ranking, daily reach,

2. Alexa Toolbar (Sparky): Firefox Add-on that shows traffic rank, traffic trend, reach meter, and related links for every site you visit.  Completely non-obtrusive (just hangs out in the footer of your browser)

3. Compete: Comparative ranking tool that measures daily reach (the number of people that visit a website on a given day as a percentage of all U.S. Internet users that day.)

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