23 Things for Archivists

Thing 37: Web Analytics

By Kathryn Otto

What is web analytics? The Web Analytics Association (WWA) defines it as “the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.” There are tools to help measure the traffic on websites, pages, and blogs, but web analytics is more than just the tools. They help you analyse your web traffic—how many “hits” and unique visitors, where are they coming from, how do they get there, and what does all of this tell you about your current website and maybe what you could do to make it better?

A really easy-to-use web analytics tool is SiteMeter. If you are using Blogger for your 23 Things blog, SiteMeter would be a good choice to keep track of traffic on your blog. (WordPress comes with it’s own analytics, so no need to add an outside tool.)

For a more sophisticated analysis of the traffic your archives’ website is getting, try Google Analytics. Considered one of the best, Google Analytics gives you lots of useful data about your site. But you do need to have access to your website at the HTML level to put Google Analytics’ code on each page that you want to track.


  • If you are using Blogger, add SiteMeter to your blog. If you are using WordPress, check out their analytics on your Dashboard.
  • Check out Google Analytics. If you have access to your website and are able to install Google Analytics, go ahead and give it a try.
  • One week is not very long to collect stats, but look at the reports that are available to you after a week and see what kinds of information you can gather about your “users.”


Already familiar with SiteMeter and Google Analytics? Try one of these other free web analytics tools (listed alphabetically):

Blog Prompts

  • Did you try SiteMeter or Google Analytics? Both? One of the others?
  • What did you like and not like about the one(s) you tried?
  • Which pieces of analytical information will you find most useful?


  1. […] we’re back on the horse! Analytics is an actually useful tool to let you see how well your Web 2.0 efforts are actually working, a […]

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