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Internet Business & Website Statistics

Internet business and website statistics are vital to every webmaster and absolutely essential if you are serious about building a successful ecommerce website. Without the ability to track visitors, traffic flow and sales, an entrepreneur is left flying blind. Most web hosting services supply at least minimal website statistics, while performance (pay-per-click) marketers typically provide stats such as ad impressions (number of times an advertisement is viewed), clickthroughs (hits), leads and sales by product or merchant. While such internet business web stats may seem at first glance to be sufficient, it will rapidly become apparent in actual usage that more detail is required.

Search engine analysis, referrer identification and click path analysis are just a few examples of essential website statistics. Both website statistics and internet business statistics must be presentable in graphic format over multiple short- and long-range time intervals to permit rapid comparisons.

Very few web hosting services (with the exception of those such as SiteSell) provide the level of sophistication required by a webmaster or internet entrepreneur to properly manage their website or online business. It therefore becomes necessary to either write your own traffic statistics package (a daunting task even for experienced webmasters) or subscribe to an online real-time traffic statistics service.

We have used Counter Central as our primary website statistics service since shortly after this website’s inception and have been extremely pleased with their level of service and the detailed statistics they provide. We use StatCounter on our other business website as well as for testing and comparison purposes. Counter Central is JavaScript-based. (Website visitors must have JavaScript enabled in their browsers to be properly recorded; the vast majority of visitors do have JavaScript enabled.) StatCounter is cookie-based. (Website visitors must have cookies enabled.)

I prefer the format provided by Counter Central over that of StatCounter, but this is a matter of personal taste. Counter Central provides a wealth of statistics, is easy to install, has proven highly reliable, and can be used on a 30-day free trial basis. Both Counter Central and StatCounter display country of origin for each visitor — a nice feature.

Due to our ongoing heavy reliance upon Counter Central for our website statistics, I have on more than one occasion fired off emails to their tech support department. I can honestly say that they have some of the best tech support you will find on the web. (I used to work in network engineering resolving customer problems, so I know the tech support function both from the inside as a support rep and from outside as a client.) Counter Central customer service is highly responsive, fixes problems that do (rarely) occur quickly, and offers explanations that I find to be both honest and satisfactory. April 2007 will mark the fourth year we have used Counter Central.

Regarding StatCounter, a somewhat confusing aspect of their statistics collection is the apparent occasional recording of visitor exit as well as entry, which can cause some difficulty interpreting Recent Pageload Activity and inflates overall statistics totals. StatCounter’s leading claim to fame is that you can use it for FREE (Paid upgrade is available.) for as long as you like, making it perhaps the only full-featured free traffic statistics service on the market.

Finally, if you are a user of Google™ AdSense to monetize your website(s), the real-time statistics provided by AdSense Gold are absolutely essential and without equal. AdSense Gold is a stand-alone program that you install within your account on your web hosting server. PHP and MySQL must be provided by your hosting service (and accessible to your account, which may require upgrading your account status), so check with them prior to purchase.

As an entrepreneur or webmaster, you must decide what level of internet business and website statistics support you require in order to analyse business trends and demographics within your target market. Making the proper choice can boost sales, help to create effective marketing campaigns, and greatly improve the success of your internet business.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.  Original article published 26 October 2004, updated 13 February 2007.

Follow links to the right to learn more about internet business and website statistics. At the left margin, Related Links address topics of interest pertaining to internet business and ecommerce. View the Internet Business & eCommerce SiteMap for a complete list of internet business, web business, website promotion and ecommerce topics.

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