A fair number of you probably use Google Analytics for your blog’s stats. GA is great for tracking information about your blog, and the trends that emerge from users interacting with your content.
But GA doesn’t give you real-time information on your blog. For example, let’s say your blog averages 10 visitors an hour. But let’s also assume that in the first 15 minutes of this hour, it’s suddenly gotten 237 visitors.
Obviously, something has happened to trigger that huge spike in traffic. But if you are only using Google Analytics to track your blog’s stats, it will at best be a few hours before you can find out what is happening NOW to trigger a traffic spike.
This is where you really need a way to track your blog’s statistics in real-time. There are several sites that will track your blog’s stats in real-time, for free. I use Site Meter, and it installs almost exactly like Google Analytics does, you simply sign up for a free account, and add a small bit of code to your blog’s template, and you are done.
But the BIG reason why I love Site Meter, because it shows me what sites/sources are SENDING traffic to my site. Here’s an example:
That’s a screenshot of the last 20 visitors here. Now I’m not getting as much traffic so far today (mainly because I haven’t posted since Monday), but I can quickly see that those circled visitors all came from the same source. That source ended up being a link that a Twitter user shared with his followers:
Notice that Tom linked to my post here, but didn’t mention me in the tweet. So unless I was actively checking my referral traffic via SiteMeter, I would have probably never caught this. And what’s worse, I checked Tom’s Twitter profile and found out he was following me and I was NOT following him! So I quickly remedied that, and left this tweet:
Those options can give you a ton of real-time information about your visitors. For example, if you just wrote a post about Kodak’s social media efforts, you can click on Details and it will show you if any of your recent visitors are coming from Kodak.com. Or if you are attending an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you can use Location to see how many people from Tulsa are checking out your site. Or Outclicks is a good one to see how visitors left your site. If you just wrote a post asking visitors to subscribe, and you see most of the recent visitors are leaving via the link to subscribe via Feedburner, that’s a good thing!
So while I think Google Analytics is invaluable in tracking your blog’s statistics, for real-time information, I use SiteMeter. Now you don’t have to use SiteMeter, there are other similar free services such as StatCounter, that more or less give you the same information.
Any other fans of SiteMeter? Or StatCounter? What do you use to get real-time information on your blog’s visitors?