Keeping track of the traffic statistics of your website is absolutely imperative, especially when considering all of the variable that exist when trying to optimize your site for future visitors. In order to know what to focus on, you have to know what is working. Without a solid outlook on the progress of your site it will be nearly impossible to advance and give the visitors what they want. With in depth traffic analysis you can tell what is hot, and what is not, thereby gaining complete control over the popularity of your site and it’s pages.
There are many ways to track traffic statistics. Sometimes people simply track the amount of clicks that go through a certain link. Other times webmasters use integrated tracking systems within their content management system. But perhaps the easiest and most reliable way to check traffic statistics is to use a site-wide script that is installed and viewed through your web hosting control panel.
Traffic Tracking Scripts
Most web hosts include installation utilities that can be used to install commonly used scripts that enhance the functionality of a site. For example, the Simple Scripts utility lets you install dozens of tools and scripts on your site with ease, such as WordPress. However, many people become confused when they try to install Awstats or Webalizer using Simple Scripts, because it is usually not found in this interface. This is because most web hosting control panels include an entirely different section of the control panel for traffic tracking. This module is called the log section, where all of the site’s statistics are kept.
Installing a Traffic Tracking Script on Your Domains
In the log section of the control panel is a module called “Choose Log Programs” (or something similar, depending on the particular web host). Click on this module and you’ll be brought to a screen in which you can install Awstats or Webalizer by checking the corresponding check boxes next to each domain name. It is important to realize that traffic statistics will not be enabled for these domains for up to 36 hours, at which point traffic data is generated every 24 hours for the webmaster.
Awstats or Webalizer?
The most recommended traffic tracking script is Awstats, and in recent years Webalizer has really fallen behind in popularity. Awstats is seen as being a better option simply because it provides a more detailed analysis, and allows you to structure reports in a more personalized manner. For example, the user can export monthly, weekly, or daily traffic statistics. Awstats is the premier traffic tracking script available today, and can be found in the control panel of almost every reputable web hosting company.
Awstats presents four main kinds of stats – Unique visitors, visits, page visits, and hits. The unique visitors statistic is the most important as it signifies the amount of people that have visited your website.