We all have a need for certainty. It’s one of the six human needs. However, if you’re looking for absolute certainty in your traffic stats program you’re not going to get it. Now that’s not to say that web traffic stats programs are not useful. They definitely are very useful and provide important information that will help you and your business make decisions about content, product, and marketing creation as well as give you information about your website visitors’ preferences.
The fact is that if you use five different traffic stats programs you’re going to get five different results. Why? Every traffic stats program uses their own algorithm to figure out what is happening on your website. In addition to that, they all use their own language and definitions to boot. Terms like ‘Unique Visitor’, ‘Page View’, and ‘Engagement’ can not only mean different things but they can, and usually are, calculated differently as well and because of this, you are likely to get different results from different programs.
Yes, all this uncertainty could cause you to lose your sanity on the quest for definitive answers however you need to remember this one thing – sometimes close enough is close enough. The results you get from any traffic stats program will be close enough to get the vital information that you need to make decisions in your business. Some programs are more accurate than others but the lesson here is that no matter what program you pick make sure you continue to follow through with that traffic stat program. It is in following through that you will start to see trends and get valuable information.
So should you only use one traffic stats program? Well, you could but in order to get a better grip on what stats are the most valuable it is probably a great idea to use more than one. As you continue to use each program you will start to realize that one program gives you valuable information regarding one aspect of your website traffic while another program offers great insight to other aspects that are helpful.
Before choosing a traffic stats program, it is best to decide what information is most important to you and your business and then check a few programs out to see how they go about measuring those important factors. After a while you’ll start to have a preference to the way one program reports those insights over other programs. As you continue to use these programs you will start to recognize trends and percentages that indicate how your site is performing. This is more important than having absolute numbers because these trends and percentages show you the direction and trends that your website’s traffic is taking and from that information you can make informed decisions on what needs to be done next with your content, marketing, and product offerings.
So what are some of these traffic stat programs? Well, the most common and accurate of them is, no surprise, Google Analytics. However, it is important to know that most times the company that hosts your site also usually has some type of traffic stat program built into your site, so using their program in addition to Google Analytics is recommended. If you want another traffic stats program as well there are too many to list here. However, you just have to do a web search of the term ‘traffic stats programs’ to find a treasure trove of choices.
So the moral of the story here is that even though different traffic stats programs report different results, the trends and percentages they produce will give you and your business more than enough information to take action and get the results you are looking for.
For more detailed information on this subject, check out our article called Why Traffic Stats Programs Report Different Numbers.