Traffic analysis tools for websites

Data for Breakfast

© Lead Image © rawpixel, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © rawpixel, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 197/2017
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If you are looking for an alternative to Google Analytics for studying website data, you can choose from a few free alternatives. In this article, we look at Piwik, Open Web Analytics, and eAnalytics.

Admins who wanted details of the visitors to their websites in the early years of the Internet had to laboriously read the web server's logs. The first log file analysis applications appeared 20 years ago. Analog [1], Webalizer [2] and AWStats [3], which date from this period, are still occasionally in use (see the "Simple Web Analytics Tools" box).

In 2005, Google launched Google Analytics (GA) [4], a website analysis service that is hugely popular today. Open source tools such as Piwik [5] picked up on this trend towards graphical web analytics, but moved its focus to the customer's own server.

With the help of web analytics, site operators collect and evaluate data on the surfing habits of their visitors. The access data are of interest not only for commercial reasons; the companies behind the sites also often seek to better understand their customers and their interests. The following applies: The closer an operator knows the visitors and their preferences, the better the operator can optimize its offerings to suit the target group.

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