Website traffic information is very important for many people such as publishers, advertisers, and website developers. This article describes why it is important and how you can find the traffic numbers. Publishers are always interested in the traffic that their website is getting in order to understand how it is performing and to see if those recent website changes create more traffic or less. They may also want to look at how their competitors are doing. Advertisers want to know how much traffic is going to particular websites. They want to know the reach of their running advertisements and they want to gather traffic data on a new website for a future advertising order. Website developers want to know if the websites they built are successfully receiving traffic making their clients happy.
Web Analytic Tools
If you own a website, the best way to track your traffic is using a web analytics tool. The most common free web analytic tools are Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics. These tools will provide detailed statistics such as unique visitors, page views, and time on site. This data will be very valuable if you plan on selling advertising space to your potential buyers and can be used to develop a media kit. Website developers should install a web analytic tool on all websites that they build. If you are willing to spend some money and feel that the free basic tools are not giving you what you need, you may want to try a more advanced solution like WebTrends, Adobe’s Omniture or IBM’s Coremetrics.
Online Traffic Estimators
If you want a quick and free estimate on the amount of traffic a website is getting, visit any of the popular ones briefly described directly below. These sites are great if you want to spy on your competition or as an advertiser, want to confirm the data provided by a publisher.
Alexa provides an estimate on the percentage of Internet users that may have visited a website during a certain period of time. It works better for websites with high traffic. The estimator can be used to understand traffic trends as well. Furthermore, Alexa supplies audience demographic data such as age and education level.
Compete displays an estimated amount of unique visitors in the U.S. Data is gathered using ISP data, internal tools, and other data sources to provide a fairly accurate estimate of traffic statistics. Again, if the website has a low amount of traffic, only a very rough estimate is provided and in some cases, there is no data available. Compete allows you to export the report into different formats if you wish to analyze or share it.
Quantcast is another traffic estimator which provides a rough estimate of traffic in the U.S. In terms of demographics in the U.S., the site displays data on gender, age, race, education level, whether the visitor has children, and income level. These statistics are again just estimates. Interestingly, the site also offers data on traffic frequency (i.e. regular visitor vs passer-by).
Data Aggregators gather information from multiple sources such as Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Google, Yahoo and other data sources to provide a comprehensive report. For example, MyDomainStats displays different traffic estimates, a graphical snapshot of the homepage, backlink statistics, Google page rank, and even an estimated monetary value. You can click on the individual data points to go to the particular site of interest if you want more in-depth information from that specific site. These tools are great if you want data from multiple sources as it saves you the effort from visiting each one individually.