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Chapter Four: Tracking
As you are marketing your website, you will want to track your results to see which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Depending on your affiliate program, web hosting package or email marketing service you are using, tracking may already be taken care of, though it is probably somewhat limited in exactly what is being tracked. For example, most web hosting packages will only tracks how many hits your site gets in general, not how many hits a specific affiliate URL might be getting. They also can’t tell you where your traffic is coming from. Affiliate programs are better as they can track which of your affiliate links within their network are getting hits. But they can’t tell you where these hits are coming from, nor can they provide help with how much traffic your website itself is getting. Then, there’s email marketing services. As you might have guessed, they can only track hits related to your email campaign.
So, what do you do if you want website tracking that can cover the complete spectrum of what is going on with your site? You’ll need to use a website tracking service. There are hundreds available, but two of the most popular are Visitor Ville and Stat Counter. Each are discussed in more detail below.
Traditional website tracking services display tracking information in boring charts and graphs. This is not the case with Visitor Ville which actually turns website tracking into a video game. Specifically, the concept of Visitor Ville is like that of SimCily or The Sims. Take a look at the screenshot below to get a better idea.
The buildings represent pages on your website. The busses represent both traffic and where your visitors are coming from. Visitors, (which are not shown in the screenshot above), are represented by people that walk around the city or enter into the ‘buildings.’
The best thing about Visitor Ville is that you can get a free one-week trial. During this trial you will get access to a full version of the service. If you like it, you have to purchase a subscription which will vary according to how much traffic your site gets. For example, 1,000 visitor a month will net you a $14.99 subscription payment. If you have 5,000 visitors, you’ll have to pay a $49.99 subscription payment. Anything traffic higher than 5,000 requires you to enroll in Visitor Ville’s Enterprise Plan. To get the cost for this you will have to contact Visitor Ville directly.
Stat Counter is a more traditional website tracking service. Everything is displayed in charts and graphs. This is more boring than Visitor Ville, but the pricing is much cheaper. Basically, if your site gets 270,000 page views a month, the service is offered for free. Anything higher than this will require you to pay, but the payment terms are extremely affordable. For example, just $29 a month will allow you track an astounding 15,000,000 page views. However, keep in mind that tracking by page views is not the same as tracking by ‘visits.’ Page views encompass all of the actions done by each visitor. On the other hand, tracking by visits just shows you how many actual visitors came to your site... their specific actions are not included in the count. So, tracking by visits is more reliable but Stat Counter allows for so many page views in their tracking service that you can still get use out of them.
So, what exactly does Stat Counter track? Well, like Visitor Ville, Stat Counter will tell you where your traffic is coming from. You will also get more specific information about your visitors, (though you won’t be able to IM them). However, unlike Visitor Ville, you get more detailed information on what keywords specifically brought visitors to your site. This is especially helpful if you use search engine marketing.