By Brendan Fitzpatrick
Nowadays just about every hosting company provides free web analytics. Web analytics is the easiest and most simplest way of determining who is visiting you site. They will tell you everything from the IP address of users to what country they are from to the actual pages requested.
Each web analytics tool will tell you a different story when using default settings, it is important to understand the basic usage of you users when configuring default parameters in these tools. For example, someone researching stocks may typically click on a link once every few seconds, while someone reading a very long article may click on a link every few minutes. Defining a session as 1 minute or 10 minutes will yield significantly different results.
Most analytics tools will also show you which countries users came from, or with links they clicked on to get to your site (note: you have to enable referral info in your logs for this feature). Most tools will also tell you how many visitors per hour/day/month/year you are receiving.. Decent tools will also tell you the keywords that your users are searching for in search engines!
Last but not least, sign up for a google account and use their developer services. The quickest way to get there is to search for “site:<my_site.com>” and then you can click on the the first link provided by google.. They offer incredible details about the traffic to your site that you will be surprised to learn.