The main idea behind stand-alone analysis service is pretty simple - when a visitor opens a page the visitor's internet browser receives all text and images from the page and executes scripts. Some of the received information can be linked to an analytical site which provides the requested information and at the same time analyzes and stores the visit related info.
I've been testing the following three services which are offered for free of charge:
- Google Analytics - is extremely informative, it allows to look at your web-site statistics from different point of view: visitors benchmarking, new ones vs. returning, world wide location, browsers been used and more; traffic sources as direct, referred from other sites, search engines; content analysis, top visiting pages, top landing and exit pages, etc.. If you really want to know how to improve your site Google Analytics is very helpful. Google Analytics functionality is based on java-script which should be pasted into web-site pages. More detailed information can be found at http://www.google.com/analytics/. Briefly what should be done to use it in Blogger is: to register with Google Analytics, create a new profile for your site, get the code and put the code in the blogger layout template above the </body> tag.
- StatCounter - collects a lot of useful information about visits and represents it in very convenient way: popular pages, entry and exit pages, keyword analysis, visit length, new and returning visits, map, browsers and so on and so forth. Similarly to Google Analytics StatCounter is based on java-script code. To make it working with Blogger just put the code right before the </body> tag.
- ClustrMaps - is another service which collects only the info about global visitors position and provides a nice world map picture with visitor locations marked.The same picture also serves as a link to ClustrMaps site and allows them to collect visitor's info. Since it is just a picture it can be placed anywhere you like in a web-page - I put it in the Header block.
Along with the free version of the service ClustrMaps has two more advanced ones with a richer choice of map styles, higher visit rates and better archiving options.