How many people visit your website and how did they discover it? What pages do they look at? How long do they stay and what makes them click away?

Website visitor statistics act as the lifeblood of any online company.

Without that baseline, you cannot manage your customers’ expectations and business will suffer as a result. You need website visitor tracking software to record and analyze that data.

Yet, what is website visitor tracking and how does it work?

Read on to learn how to record your visitors’ behavior. See the different types of tracking including via an IP address and cookies. Then discover if all tracking methods are legal and how to abide by the rules.

What Is Website Visitor Tracking?

Every website owner wants to know:

  • Visitor demographics e.g. age, gender, location
  • Acquisition sources e.g. organic search, direct, referral links
  • Bounce rates i.e. visitors who leave a page immediately
  • Site interaction and average session duration

Website visitor tracking software collects all of these data points and presents them in a visual format. Charts and graphics help to identify weak gaps that need fixing and can spot trends to better promote pages.

The magic of gathering these vast volumes of stats lies in the tracking tools available.

Google Analytics is a free service offered by the search engine giant. By adding a few lines of code to each page on your site, Google can record user interactions.

There are many other services like HubSpot and SalesForce that integrate a CRM solution. This software effectively ties a visitor to a customer record so you can track each of their sessions online.

The Benefits of Tracking Website Visitors

Sales and marketing teams gain the most from tracking statistics.

They can generate leads by promoting contact forms on the right pages. They can track paid adverts to the final checkout phase and discover what ads work best. Customer segmentation will influence key marketing strategies based on verified data.

You can read more about the benefits of website visitor tracking in this article.

Visitor Tracking vs IP Address Tracking

Each tracking tool works in a different way.

Some use a more general tracking approach through the customer’s IP address. However, one IP can host hundreds of people, like an open Wi-Fi connection.

Cookie-based or visitor-level tracking ties a visit to a particular user. They provide better results than IP tracking but fall under cookie laws and regulations.

Is Website Visitor Tracking Legal?

Privacy is a constant concern on the modern web.

Tracking users across websites with third-party cookies can seem like Big Brother surveillance. That’s why many countries implement strict regulations to keep website owners in check.

GDPR laws in Europe require websites to ask for consent before issuing a cookie. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) aims to give residents more control over their data.

Check to ensure that your site abides by the correct regulations or you could face a stiff penalty.

More Tips on Website Visitor Tracking

What is website visitor tracking and why is it useful?

When done correctly, tracking website visitors opens up a wealth of useful data. Marketing teams can create A-B tests to confirm whether their ads work. Site designers can optimize the sales process to encourage repeat purchases.

Be sure to follow the guidelines and always give your visitors the choice to opt out. Gaining their trust in a transparent way will cultivate a better relationship in the long run.