Easy and FREE Ways to Track Your Online Presence…Plus, See What California is Up To

Like a lot of you, the Arizona Office of Tourism uses quite a few web statistics / analytics tools to track web presence. Some are free, such as Google Analytics, and others are fee-based, such as WebTrends or Omniture. But aside from those major players, there are a few other free tools available to track not only your online presence, but the presence of your competitors.

Oh, and did I mention they are free?

(Note: Like most things free, there is usually a fee model with some of these services. The fee model just includes more features, if you want them)

Let’s review:

Alexa: The most well-known of the ‘open (free) internet ratings services,’ Alexa was created in 1996 and then purchased by Amazon.com in 1999. Basically, the service gathers data from users who have the Alexa toolbar installed in there browser and then generates reports based on that data. While there has been a lot of debate about the accuracy of the Alexa user base as a reliable representation of internet users, the service does offer some in-depth statistics and comparative tools.

Compete.com: A relatively new internet rating service, compete.com gathers information from ‘a diverse sample of 2,000,000+ U.S. internet users‘ who have allowed compete.com to ‘analyze the web pages they visit and ask them questions via surveys.’ The site allows you to compare two websites against each other for a competitive view of visitors, ‘engagement’ and growth. See the Troy (blue) vs. Mo (red) graph pictured above.

Quantcast: Another new service, this one directed at advertisers, quantcast offers the opportunity to view audience reports for perspective sites. While it does offer similar statistical data, quantcast also attempts to put a demographic overview on the data.

For instance, arizonaguide.com reaches:
a very slightly female biased, primarily older group.The typical visitor stays at Choice Hotels, uses Frommers, and reads gardenweb.com.

Or, visitcalifornia.com reaches:
a very slightly female biased group.The typical visitor rents cars from Budget, uses Yahoo! Travel, and sails on Norwegian Cruises.

Probably not 100% accurate, but interesting none the less.

Popuri.us: And to sum it all up, you can use popuri.us. This ‘check at-a-glance’ tool allows you to view data about your site such as Google PageRank, Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Google BackLinks, Technorati Links, del.icio.us Bookmarks, amongst others. A good tool for a quick look at your web presence.

Again, most of these services are not reporting 100% accurate information. Assumptions are made, audiences are not exact. But, if you are looking for some additional statistics or analytics about your site, I would suggest you give one of these products a try.

After all, they are free!

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.