A free blog hit counter can help you keep track of how many people are visiting your blog and where that traffic is coming from. Free hit counters vary, so try out several different ones to see which is best for your blog.
What Is a Free Blog Hit Counter?
A blog hit counter can show you how much traffic each page of your blog is getting. Available statistics are different, depending on which free blog hit counter you are using.
Blog counters are added by inserting a string of code into your blog's database, which gives the counter access to track your visitors. These counters can run behind the scenes invisibly, or you can add an icon to your blog showing the counter and the total number of hits you've had since it was installed.
Blog Hit Counter Features
The features of any blog hit counter will vary, and they may be quite minimal if you opt for a free version. Here are some of the things hit counters offer:
- Basic count of hits to your blog, including hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and all-time
- A breakdown of your hits, including first time visitors, page loads, and "stickiness" (an average of how many pages on your blog are visited per hit)
- Real-time statistics, which can be sorted and filtered by page
- A list of other blogs and websites that are linking to you, and how many hits they've sent your way
- Geographical information detailing where your visitors are located
- Graphs and charts that let you easily compare traffic data over time
- Mobile tracking with an interface you can use from your mobile phone or handheld device
- Search terms that resulted in visits
- Traffic stats from each search engine
- The number of pages on your site that result in errors when someone tries to visit them
Free hit counters will sometimes also run advertisements along the bottom of their counter, requiring you to display their icon in a prominent location on your blog.
Google Analytics is the most popular free hit counter for blogs, and can also be used on websites. It is much more than a simple counter, and is especially helpful if you're using ads or keyword marketing to generate income from your blog.
Google Analytics gives you all of the statistical data about your site's visitors that you could ever need, and the interface is simple to use. It also tracks revenue sources, keyword marketing, and, if you're selling a product, sales and conversions.
Another feature of this product is that it will alert you if there are sudden and drastic changes to your blog traffic. You can add up to 50 websites or blogs to one Google Analytics account, so if you run multiple sites it's very handy to use.
Other Free Blog Counters
Free blog hit counters are plentiful online, and a simple search will turn up dozens of options. Here are some tips to help you find the right one for your blog.
- Refine your initial search for a counter by including your blogging platform in the search terms. If you use WordPress, for example, search for "free blog counter wordpress." This way your results will only include those that will work with your blog.
- Once you've decided on one or more that you'd like to try, do a bit of further research on the product. Try McAfee Site Advisor first, which will tell you if there is any spyware or other malicious software risk. Then do a general search for the title of the counter, and see if any webmaster forums or other reputable sites have anything to say about the product.
- Test your chosen counter out for several days to a week, checking the stats periodically to see if they look right to you. If you think they're off, try a different counter.
Keeping Track of Stats
Blog hit counters can be very useful in helping you grow your blog, allowing you to see in real time what works and what doesn't. If you see a sudden surge in visitors, you can go back and see how and why the increase happened, and try to replicate it for a steady flow of traffic. The only trick with these products is to find a reliable one.