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.)

SEO Copywriting: Eight Steps to Success

By following these 8 simple guidelines, you’ll be able to overhaul the copy on your website ensuring it’s agreeable to both search engines and visitors.

1) Categorize your pages
Before writing, think about the structure of your site. If you haven’t built your site yet, try to create your pages around key offerings or benefits. For example, divide your Second Hand Computers site into separate pages for Macs, and PCs, and then segment again into Notebooks, Desktops, etc. This way, you’ll be able to incorporate very specific keyword phrases into your copy, thereby capturing a very targeted market. If you’re working on an existing site, print out each page and label it with its key point, offering, or benefit.

2) Find out what keywords your customers are searching for
Go to and subscribe for a day (this will only cost you about AUD$10). Type in the key points, offerings, and benefits you identified for each page, and spend some time analysing what words customers use when they’re searching for these things. These are the words you’ll want to use to describe your product or service. (Make sure you read WordTracker’s explanation of their results.)

3) Use phrases, not single words
Although this advice isn’t specific to the web copy, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating here. Why? Well firstly, there’s too much competition for single keywords. If you’re in computer sales, don’t choose “computers” as your primary keyword. Go to Google and search for “computers” and you’ll see why… Secondly, research shows that customers are becoming more search-savvy - they’re searching for more and more specific strings. They’re learning that by being more specific, they find what they’re looking for much faster. Ask yourself what’s unique about your business? Perhaps you sell cheap second hand computers? Then why not use “cheap second hand computers” as your primary keyword phrase. This way, you’ll not only stand a chance in the rankings, you’ll also display in much more targeted searches. In other words, a higher percentage of your site’s visitors will be people after cheap second hand computers. (WordTracker’s results will help you choose the most appropriate phrases.)

4) Pick the important keyword phrases
Don’t include every keyword phrase on every page. Focus on one or two keyword phrases on each page. For your Macs page, focus on “cheap second hand macs”. For the PCs page, focus on “cheap second hand pcs”, etc.

5) Be specific
Don’t just say “our computers”. Wherever you would normally say “our computers”, ask yourself if you can get away with saying “our cheap second hand Macs” or “our cheap second hand PCs”. If this doesn’t affect your readability too badly, it’s worth doing. It’s a fine balance though. Remember, your site reflects the quality of your service. If your site is hard to read, people will infer a lot about your service…

6) Use keyword phrases in links
Although you shouldn’t focus on every keyword phrase on every page, it’s a good idea to link your pages together with text links. This way, when the search engines look at your site, they’ll see that the pages are related. Once again, the more text links the better, especially if the link text is a keyword phrase. So on your “Cheap Second Hand Macs” page, include a text link at the bottom to “Cheap Second Hand PCs”. If you can manage it without affecting readability, also include one within the copy of the page. For example, “As well as providing cheap second hand Macs, we sell high quality cheap second hand PCs”. TIP: If you don’t want your links to be underlined and blue, include the following in your CSS file:

Then format the HTML of each link as follows:

As well as providing cheap second hand Macs, we sell high quality cheap second hand pcs.

7) Use keyword phrases in headings
Just as customers rely on headings to scan your site, so to do search engines. This means headings play a big part in how the search engines will categorise your site. Try to include your primary keyword phrases in your headings. In fact, think about inserting extra headings just for this purpose. Generally this will also help the readability of the site because it will help customers scan read.

Test keyword phrase density
Once you’ve made a first pass at the copy, run it through a density checker to get some metrics. Visit GoRank’s Keyword Density Analyzer and type in the domain and keyword phrase you want to analyse. It’ll give you a percentage for all the important parts of your page, including copy, title, meta keywords, meta description, etc. The higher the density the better. Generally speaking, a density measurement of at least 3-5% is what you’re looking for. Any less, and you’ll probably need to take another pass.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to effective SEO copy.
Just remember, don’t overdo it. It’s not easy to find the balance between copy written for search engines and copy written for customers. In many cases, this balance will be too difficult to achieve without professional help. Don’t worry, though. If you’ve already performed your keyword analysis, a professional website copywriter should be able to work your primary keyword phrases into your copy at no extra charge.

Kishore SEO - Latest SEO Updates and Online SEO Training ©2008.