StatCounter – an alternative to Google Analytics

This will only be of interest to anyone who manages one or more websites, but just thought I’d give a tip ‘o the hat to an excellent free service I’ve used for years. StatCounter allows you to insert a bit of code into your site, and then it tracks all visitors. You can view metrics through a variety of filters – chronologically, geographically, ‘came from’ sources, most popular pages, unique vs returning visitors, etc. I use Google Analytics also – another great free service – but I find StatCounter easier to use. However, both services allow for excellent granularity of information.

To start you create an account, and then you can easily add one or more projects. Each time you add a project it generates a bit of code which you can then insert into your site. If you’re using a straight HTML site it’ll need to go into each page you want to track. On my WordPress sites I add it to the theme file footer.php, right before the closing /body tag – all pages are then automatically tracked. There is a WordPress plugin for StatCounter, but I didn’t have much success with it – it’s just easier for me to add the code manually. I will add that when you create the project you can choose from a variety of visible or invisible counters. Not that anyone uses visible counters these days… it’s right up there with the Comic Sans font and auto-music in web design no-no’s.

Typically I use both Google Analytics and StatCounter on my sites – this gives me all the metrics I need, and there doesn’t seem to be any conflict between the two. And both are FREE! So – if you’re looking for an alternative to Analytics, or maybe you just want to supplement your site metrics with another tracker, I highly recommend StatCounter.

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