Log based Stats tools versus Google Analytics!

cPanel offers 3 well known web statistics tools for analyzing the traffic to your website: Awstats, Webalizer, and Analog. Even though they are powerful and requires no separate implementation in your website, a script based statistics tool like Google Analytics can offer you a plethora of information that the log based web statistics tools cannot offer. Google Analytics allows you more customization on how the statistics data should be presented to you.

The only downside for using a script based statistics tool is that you need to insert the code (usually JavaScript) in every page of your website. If you have a header or footer file in your web pages, it would be easier to integrate the code.

Google Analytics service is free and just requires you to have a Gmail account to signup at: http://www.google.com/analytics

After you sign up for the service you have to grab the small JavaScript code which you need to add in your web pages. Finally, check back in a day or so in your Google Analytics account for data to start coming in.

Once you have everything up and running and you enter your websites report page, Google immediately throws information at you. The various graphs give you a lot of information very quickly and they are easy to read. There are a whole host of great features that a website developer would be interested. You can get to know your readers on a very personal level with the inclusion of resolution, language, Java & Flash capabilities, average time viewing, browser and platform combinations, connection speed of your visitors, Geo-Targeting (more accurate than Webalizer/AWstats), E-mail reports, etc. If you already have Google Adwords promotions running for your website, Google Analytics can help you with conversion tracking for your Google Adwords campaigns by to allowing you to understand which keywords are most profitable to your business.

Google Analytics is a great program that can do a lot more than most people realize. Here are a few features that everyone may not know about:

  •  “Capture internal search stats” is a new feature that allows you to understand what page a visitor were on when they made a search in your website and what page they chose in the search results.
  •  “Filter out domains” feature allows you to create a filter to not count anyone from specific domain(s) which will be helpful when your Google Analytics code somehow got on another site and your stats were getting tainted with irrelevant data.
  •  “Track document downloads or specific links” allows you to track when someone clicks on a particular link. This works for PDFs, Word documents, email address and external links.
  •  “Export to Excel” feature allows you to export the statistics data to CSV file which Excel can open for further analyzing.
  •  The “Filter yourself out” feature will ensure that you or your company/family will be excluded from being included in the statistics by blocking your IP address and/or using a cookie.

Some of the new features introduced by Google Analytics recently include:

  •  Event Tracking (allows you to track events on any page, separate from page views. For example: any Flash-driven element, embedded AJAX page elements, page gadgets/widgets, file downloads, load times for data and more.)
  •  Automatic detection for SSL/HTTPS
  •  Ability to graph multiple data points at once
  •  Six new languages
  •  Tracking pages in multiple accounts
  •  Subdomain tracking
  •  Visitor tracking across domains
  •  E-commerce transactions tracking

If you have some unique Google Analytics tips, please do share.