If you run your own website, it’s important to know who’s on your website right now. That’s why you need real-time visitor tracking.
Let’s have a look at why website visitor tracking is important and which tools you can use on your site.
The Benefits of Live Website Visitor Tracking
Live website visitor tracking (a sub-set of web analytics), gives you a way to instantly see what people are doing on your site in real-time.
Depending on the tool you use, some of the benefits include:
- Knowing if your new content is immediately popular.
- Information about which social media posts/networks are driving visitors.
- Insight into how a visitor travels through your site.
- See which products and sales deals are garnering the most attention.
- Real-time notifications if a particular person/company visits your site.
- Learn which pages generate the most sales leads.
Visitor Tracking on Other Sites
Before we dive into the tools, a quick note about website visitor tracking on sites you don’t own.
Any tool which claims to be able to show you live data on third-party sites is not being truthful. Sites like Alexa can give you a few clues about the headline visitor numbers, but no external tool can see a site’s real-time visitors without the owner’s consent.
Okay, let’s have a look at some web visitor tracking tools.
Google Analytics is the most well-known website visitor tracking tool. The app has many different features, but for the sake of today’s rundown, we’re only interested in Real-Time.
If you use Real-Time, you will be able to use event tracking to monitor usage of your site’s mobile app, watch the performance of any promotions you’re running, and monitor your goals in line with site changes.
Google Analytics is entirely free to use. To get set up, you need to add a tracking code to your site. You can manually place the code after the <head> tag on each page you want to track. Some backends such as WordPress offer plugins that’ll add the code automatically.
Check out our list of Google Analytics apps for iOS if you need to check website data while you’re on-the-go.
You might not need the complexity that Google Analytics offers. Although anyone can use it, it may be overkill if your site doesn’t have huge amounts of traffic.
For a more straightforward way to check how many visitors are on your website right now, you could consider using the free Live Traffic Feed tool. It provides a live feed of people who visit your site. The data includes the visitor’s location and the page they viewed.
To use Live Traffic Feed, you can either grab the HTML code and paste it into your site manually or download the WordPress plugin. There are several customization options, including color, time zone, counters, size, and more.
For the tool to work correctly, you need to need to make sure it is in the top 30 percent of your site’s page. If it is below the 30 percent line, it will only update in real-time for three minutes. You will need to refresh the page to reactivate it.
Note: Anyone who visits your site will be able to see the live feed. Don’t use the tool if that makes you uncomfortable.
Hitsteps specializes in real-time website visitor tracking.
From the main dashboard, you can see which country the visitor is in, how they found you, what page they are looking at, which browser they are using, which operating system they are using, and a whole lot more.
And if a visitor fills out a form on your site (like a newsletter subscription, a comment, or a contact form), Hitsteps can automatically connect the visitor’s identity to the person’s form details. It allows you to build up a more complete picture of who is visiting your site.
Other Hitsteps features include keyword analytics, cross-device tracking, website heatmaps, a page speed analysis, and real-time ad blocker detection.
The free version of Hitsteps is available to sites with fewer than 2,000 monthly visitors. For 10,000 per month, it costs $4.99. The top plan costs $49.99 and supports up to one million visitors.
Whos.Amung.Us is one of the best free website visitor tracking tools.
Even though it’s free, the tool will be enough for most users. It supports unlimited page views, unlimited visitors, and an infinite number of websites.
Different widgets are available. You can add a live map to your site or choose from a selection of visitor counters widgets.
To install the widget on your site, you need to copy and paste the HTML code from the Whos.Amung.Us website. You need to insert it onto every site that you want to track; it is not enough to only run it on your homepage.
The tool is ad-supported.
Supercounters is another site that offers a variety of visitor tracking-themed widgets that you can add to your site.
The widgets are divided into seven broad categories:
- Hit counters
- Tab widgets
- Online counters
- Visitor trackers
- Visitor maps
- Flag counters
- IP address trackers
Each of the seven categories has multiple widget styles available.
Of course, none of these widgets are going to provide professional-grade analytics, but they are a fun way to show who’s visiting your site if you’re not interested in fine-tuning every aspect of your page.
All the website visitor tracking widgets are free to use.
Clicky lets you track website visitors in real-time.
You can use it to track individual visitors and their per-session actions, view visitor locations on a map, and see other data such as operating system, browser, ISP, language, and even the visitor’s screen resolution.
There are also some non-live features such as Google Search ranking data, HTTPS tracking, website heatmaps, and an uptime monitor.
Clicky’s free plan lets you track one site with a maximum of 3,000 daily page views. The pro plan increases the limit to one million views.
In addition to the real-time stats, Web-Stat can show details of individual visitors, precisely measure the duration of visits (rather than extrapolating the data from a sample), see visitors click-paths and conversions, and measure your referrals.
Web-Stat is also worth considering if you are a privacy fanatic. Unlike services like Google Analytics—which share your data with third-parties and use it for targeted advertising, Web-Stat does not sell or release any of your data.
Other Ways to Monitor Your Website
The seven tools we have discussed will all help you to gain a deeper understanding of how your website is performing and how your visitors interact with the content.
But these tools are just one part of the puzzle. If you would like to learn about some other options, read our article on the best sites to track a website’s traffic.