Real-time visitor tracking tools have been popping up ever since 2007 or so, and now there are many choices in the live website analytics arena. Let’s go over some of the choices and see what makes them stand apart from the others.
Amung.us is one of the older live-click tracking services. MakeUseOf actually used their widget for a number of years – it was perfect for tracking who was on the site live, which articles were currently receiving a lot of visitors and historical viewer tracking. The Amung.us service is listed in our directory here.
If you need a simple widget for your website, Amung.us is perfect for this use. They do not include detailed tracking in their free service, but sometimes you simply don’t need it. Also, they allow you to place a map on your website or blog detailing where in the world people are coming from.
Clicktale is more of a full-featured analytics package. They focus on taking an individual user session and allow you, as the site administrator, to “play back” the visit from their first page to the next. Clicktale also offers some more detailed statistics such as time on the page, conversion rates, and other features seen in packages like Google Analytics.
Another cool feature that Clicktale has (limited in the free plans) is the ability to see a heat-map over your website. This shows where a user moves their mouse on your webpages and what they actually clicked on. This is a great insight tool to get an idea of how real users interact on your page.
Clicktale has a free plan that includes 400 recorded pageviews per month and a limited playback of visits. To get some of the more interesting features, they do require that you upgrade to a paid plan.
Clicky is a very strong, yet very simple live analytics package. We’ve featured it here on MakeUseOf before, and their offering has only grown in size and value.
They make a very compelling alternative to Google Analytics. Their free version includes many of the same features as GA, but also adds real-time tracking into the mix. The user interface is clean and simple and they also have mobile versions for iPhone or Android.
As with many of the other tracking platforms, there is a limited free version and also a pay version which includes more page views and features. The free version limits are 3,000 daily page views and one site. Clicky is definitely an option if you are looking for live website analytics at a good price.
A popular service with bloggers is Feedjit. Feedjit offers live analytics but is more focused on the “here and now”. It will show you who has visited your page in real time, displayed in a widget on your site or blog. It displays various statistics about the visitor, including where they are visiting from.
Part of the free version of the widget is that it is supported by ads. This allows them to bring the widget to you for free and also an advertising platform for your own website or company (if you pay for it). This could be considered a good or bad part of the service depending on your viewpoint.
GoSquared is “Analytics without the Analysis” and is a beautiful way to visualize visitors to your website in real-time. A live demo of GoSquared is available here.
The free plan offers one site and 10,000 monthly page views and paid plans start at $10 a month.
Piwik is an open-source alternative to Google Analytics, with other features such as live visitor tracking built-in. For the crowd who don’t like Google having access to all of their data, Piwik is a great self-hosted option.
As with many open source alternatives, there is some legwork to be done to get Piwik set up correctly. Look for detailed directions in an upcoming MakeUseOf article by yours truly.
Piwik is absolutely free, and if you are willing to get your hands dirty, the source code is available to all for the ultimate customization.
Reinvigorate offers many of the analytics offered above. What makes them stand apart is that they do offer heat-maps along with the normal statistics, and also they have a desktop client that can be made to ‘ding’ every time someone visits your site.
Reinvigorate offers a free plan for up to 100k page views and paid plans starting at $10 a month.
Woopra offers live stats on your website and is a very popular alernative to Google Analytics. Their free account (also known as Basic) gives you your website stats served alongside an ad.
Woopra has several features which set them apart from the pack. You can add a live-chat widget onto your site and chat with your visitors, and they also have an excellent API via which you can integrate your own statistics and metrics into.
Who’s The Best?
All of the above options are great solutions to the live-tracking analytics question. I think Woopra and Clicky are the two top analytics platforms as far as overall comprehensive features and ease of use. Amung.us or Feedjit are excellent if you run a small blog and just want to add simple live tracking to your pages. Finally, Piwik is the ultimate customizable solution – look for a howto on setting it up on your website in the coming weeks.
Do you have another option to see how many visitors are on your website? Be sure to let us know below!
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