Free Stat Counters For Your Blog

There are several tools which can help you cultivate your blogging audience. Today, we're going to discuss stat counters and what they can do for you. The stat counters listed here are free, but if you want all the bells and whistles they also have versions that cost money. Before we get into them, let's talk a bit about what they are.

A stat counter is script that you install on your blog (this is not difficult, especially if you're on Blogger.com -- you just copy and paste the html code) for the purposes of analyzing your traffic. Different counters offer slightly different options, but they will all tell you where your traffic came from, and how they got there. For example, if someone goes to Google and does a search on my name, they will enter my blog via a link in those search results. Your stat counter will show you that link and the terms searched that brought that person to your blog. It will also show you the page they wound up on initially.

Stat counters also tell you the IP address of that person, their computer OS, the browser they are using, the screen resolution they have and how many pages they viewed while the were on your blog. And it can even tell you where they went after they left your blog if they followed a link out. The following stat counters (and they can be used on websites as well) are two that I have experience with and use on a daily basis.

Sitemeter Stats

Sitemeter.com

Lots and lots of bloggers use this one. It's the first stat counter I started using, and it works quite well. It's very easy to figure out if you're a beginner. It can tell you where people came from, how they got there, how long they stayed, where they went afterward and how many pages they viewed. It will only show you a max of 100 at visitors at a time, though, and it doesn't indicate return visitors -- which I really wish it could do. But over all its a very good counter and I'm always satisfied with it.

StatCounter.com

Stat Counter is quite good too, but it's a bit different. One of the things I really like about Stat Counter is that it tells you which visitors are return visitors. Another very cool thing is that you can label individual IP address with a nickname. If you know your best friend reads your blog every day, you could label her IP address BFF and it would be easier to know when you have a new visitor, or someone who is already a loyal reader. One of the downsides to Stat Counter is that the total number of visitors can sometimes appear larger than it is -- people who surf with AOL, for example, are often given a new IP address for every page reload, which could make 1 visit look like 10.

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