The place for nonprofits, charities, and libraries

Web analytics tools

  • Do you use a Web analytics tool? If so, which tool do you use, and why did you choose it? Have you changed your site because of the data you've collected?
    senior editor, TechSoup
  • Most of our reseller hosting accounts come with Webalizer and AWStats. I also have an old copy of Webtrends Pro that I use from time to time.

    Webtrends I use when I need to create a detailed custom list. I can run a list from a year's worth of log files if I want to and select how many results under each section of the report.

    Awstats is pretty, a bit more accurate in some ways, and provides much the same information as Webtrends, but being server-based there are some limitations that I don't have with Webtrends (it runs on my PC).

    Webalizer is what I use the most and it shows me a year at a glance, which I like, and then the past 12 months and provides some details, it's not the best reporting tool, but good for end users so they don't get overwhelemed.

    Webalizer and AWStats are both free software.

    I have also used Smarter stats and Urchin. They are ok and have some nice point, but they are not as easy to use for me.
  • Google Web Anaytics is proving to work pretty well for us.

    I can't say that I have enough data to make a conclusive decision, but it looks like it will give us everything we need with a low amount of bandwidth/speed impact.

    Tim Claremont
    Systems Administrator
    Rochester, NY

  • Along with Google Analytics, I've used reinvigorate ( It's given me some useful information such as search terms used in search engines that got them to my site.
  • Google Analytics works well. Also take a look at Mint
    Does cost $30 per site and you have to install your self.
  • Google Analytics is great - and incredibly robust for a beta product. Thanks for the additional information about and feedback that there have been some imperfections,

    I use GA on my blog and I have found the keyword search information very helpful. Knowing what topics people came in the first place for, I can build on the most interesting topics.
  • I have used:

    awstats (and still do)
    WebTrends (now abandoned)
    and Google Analytics

    I must say that I love Analytics for its ease of use and in-depth reporting. I frequently use the feature that allows you to pull data into a CSV file.

    For a free product, Analytics is the winner in my book. 
    NonProfit Technology Consulting

  • Does anyone know of a good web log analysis program that runs on a Mac?

    Thanks, Dan
  • HaveAMint does look very interesting. The website says that "JavaScript must be enabled." Does that mean that you have to add some JS to every page? Also, it says that you need MySQL. So, it must record page views, etc. in a MySQL database. Wouldn't that get kind of big?

  • I have been using Google Analytics for the last year - and I have used many other commercial systems in the past. Google Analytics provides more than enough functionality for most non-profits.
  • I think that many times we get down and dirty with the data in the analytics tool before thinking about how we're going to use the information. I'm guilty of that ... so I've set up a little framework

    -Step 1: Goals for the web site as guides to the data collection
    -Step 2: Research questions to frame your data collection (why/what around your outcomes)
    -Step 3: Analytics software tool to collect data
    -Step 4: Pick reports to answer your research questions
    -Step 5: Action that improve your web site performance or marketing campaign effectiveness.

  • I totally agree with Beth.
    By the way, one great new tool is Google website optimizer - see
  • I'm working on a screencast about using Google Analytics for nonprofit web sites and seeking some examples and stories of how you may have used Web analytics data to make changes in your web site or marketing.

    Specifically, I'm looking for some real life examples of these reports:

    Key Report #1: Referring Search Terms From Search Engines The report that tells you which search phrases people are using to find your site tells you a lot about your users.

    Key Report #2: Referring URLs
    Look at the report that tells you which Web sites are sending you traffic. Does this correspond to your expectations?

    Key Report #3: Content Popularity
    It's essential to view the list of Top 10 (or 15) most popular pages on your site. "Knowing what content is being consumed can lead you to so many insights," Kaushik says. "What are people coming to my Web site for? Are the things that I want to promote actually the things that people are looking at?"

    Key Report #4: Percent of Visitors Who Visit the Home Page This metric often shocks site owners. "They think that everyone sees the homepage, so they put their maximum energies and promotion there." But since search engines display a site's internal pages, most users enter a site far from the home page.

    Key Report #5: Site Overlay
    Wouldn't you love it if you could open your site and see exactly where people are clicking? With the Site Overlay report you can. It displays your actual pages — just as they look to users — with a click level indicator next to each link. It shows the number of people who click on each link.

    Key Report #6: Site Bounce Rate
    The Bounce Rate report reveals the number of visitors who stayed just a few seconds. These are the people who came to your site but didn't engage. In short, your bounce rate is your failure rate.

    Here's the full background - if you want to learn more/.

    Screencast Script:
    How to Measure Your Blog's Success:
    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    About Search Key Word Refferrals:
  • You all might want to be careful about Google Analytics. On a commercial website I maintain, we recently had a dispute with an advertiser over how many visitors our site was referring to them. We counted 57 clicks on their ad, while they said that Google Analytics had reported only 13 visitors referred from our website.

    I did a little research on this, and it seems that Google Analytics might be seriously under-reporting in some cases. Do a search for "google analytics underreporting" and you'll see other folks that seem to be reporting the same phenomenon.

  • I did a little research on this, and it seems that Google Analytics might be seriously under-reporting in some cases. Do a search for "google analytics underreporting" and you'll see other folks that seem to be reporting the same phenomenon.

    Interesting, I'll have to look into this further...

    This is one reason I often tell people to consider using more than one reporting tool on their site, which can help to paint a more accurate picture of the site's actual performance. If both tools are reporting similar data about your site, then it's safe to say your data is generally valid and reliable. If both tools are reporting significant differences in data, then obviously something is wrong somewhere...

    I like the idea of using more than one analytics tool because doing so can help confirm the validity and reliability of the data being reported (while also providing some valuable complimentary info about your site).

    On the other hand, I'll also say that having too much information can sometimes be confusing to deal with -- so tread cautiously if you decide to use multiple tools to collect traffic data. Remember to compare apples with apples.

    Dan, I hope you'll keep us posted on your situation with Google Analytics...

    I'm gonna be looking into this under-reporting phenomenon myself...


    Yann Toledano, Digital Marketing Strategist
    Host, Web Building Forum,
    Twitter: @webmanyann