Anybody who maintains or owns a website should be interested in access statistics and can make a good use of web Log Analyzer. However, there are too much similar products on the market and users can be pretty much confused. They often think “Why should I pay for website stats software when there are free alternatives?” Read on to find out.
Regarding price, web stats software can be divided into three main groups:
1. Free or Open Source
Having this in mind, it looks like users can be divided into three groups as well:
2. Small and middle business
3. Large corporations
If you run a personal or hobby site that you don’t make money from, than you would probably be satisfied with free software: Analog, Webalizer, AWStats – to name a few. It’s natural, after all: you don’t depend on results of this software and you can’t do much to raise zero earnings. Free analyzers will satisfy your curiosity, and not much more than that.
There’s another “free” analyzer that’s most popular in last few years: Google Analytics. It actually falls somewhere in between first and second group and it deserves separate section of this article (see below).
If you depend on your business (online or offline), you’ll need more that satisfying curiosity. You’ll need to know as much as it’s possible about your visitors: their behavior, technical data (browsers, operating systems), “dead ends” on your web site, etc. You will also need to calculate specific conversions. Conversion is the ratio between total number of visitors and visitors that took a wanted action (software download, mailing list subscriptions, orders, etc). Depending on this analysis, you will change your web site to achieve better comprehension, better wording effects, better conversion, and better earnings eventually. In this case, you should consider some commercial alternatives.
But not all commercial software is the same. A lot of them offer almost identical set of functionality as free ones, with little differences here and there. Some of them even look like exact clones of each other. It’s very hard to examine dozen of similar software. If first few of them don’t offer something new and interesting, you’ll probably give up eventually and turn back on free alternative.
One may think: “Of course they are similar! They all take same log files as input and they produce reports as output. In how many different ways you can do this?” If this is what you are thinking too, you may be surprised.
Related Post: Log Analyzer Review