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Google Analytics

Website: www.google.com/analytics

Google Analytics is a free package which has been on the market since 2005. It was originally based on Urchin's software which was acquired by Google.

Although the interface is very different to Urchin's original software, many of the best features are retained. This is a powerful solution with a focus on business goals. There are numerous options to track visitor flow and conversion rates (i.e. sales).

One thing which may put some people off is that you need to add some JavaScript code to each page you want to track. This isn't too difficult and does not affect the site's performance at all. Naturally, visitors without JavaScript enabled will not be counted — nor will search engines and other bots which do not read JavaScript. Files that can't include JavaScript (e.g. image files) are also excluded, although there are some workarounds for some file types.

Google Analytics is the best stats application I have used. Due to the JavaScript limitations it can't do everything I need so I still use other solutions as well, but for 99% of my needs Google Analytics is the best available. And it's free!

The screenshot below shows the executive summary.

Google Analytics Executive Summary
Author: ,  Originally published: 2006-07-06,  Last updated: 2007-12-28