Website visitor tracking is a method that allows website publishers to monitor and analyze human and machine interaction with websites. It is an essential tool that provides crucial to follow insights on “behind the scenes” operational status of any given website. Without a properly implemented website visitor analytics system, a website’s performance, success or failure could not be measured.
Virtually ALL websites worldwide utilize this type of activity monitoring from a simple quantitative website access statistics to an advanced IP level aggregated statistics. Both types of statistics measure human and machine website data request activity.
Website visitor tracking is a helpful tool that has been used since the very beginning of Internet
The era of website publishing and visitor statistics tracking helped the Internet to become what it is now. It is the reason for which 99+% of all websites utilize the tracking facility extensively as it provides publishers with an invaluable information. At some level, it can be compared to medical measurement devices at a doctor’s office. Any website’s Internet presence “health” can only be measured and maintained with website visitor activity monitoring and statistical tools.
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Website visitor tracking provides awesome capabilities to enable the website publishers to:
- Observe and measure quantitative statistics on hourly, daily, monthly and yearly basis. These stats measure the essential data resources such as number of page loads, number of website visits that visitors have made over a period of time, number of returning visits, file downloads, pages viewed per each visitor, content popularity, etc. This type of visitor tracking statistics does not track individual visitor’s data but rather produce a cumulative statistics to generate an overall “picture” of a website’s operational status.
- Individually track website visitors activity. Using an individual visitor tracking software, web publishers can configure their tracking software to monitor activity of human produced visits based on the people’s IP address. An IP address allows website published to monitor a person’s or a computer’s website access activity. Tracking an IP address does not reveal an actual person that engages in a website browsing activity. Yet it helps website owners to analyze the trends and contextual needs of their website visitors and create engaging content based on each individual visitor. It also helps website owners to tailor advertising strategies to offer a variety of products and services to their customers, thus avoiding flooding their pages with pointless ads.
- Measure website performance. With hourly quantitative statistics and server load data, website performance reports allow webmasters to ensure that technical implementation and web hosting services can cope with serving the website content to present volume of target audience in different parts of the globe. The strategic and geographical web hosting service can be a major factor in website ranking and eventual popularity and usability.
- Provide website security. Website visitor tracking is also an excellent tool to facilitate additional website security. Although a web hosting service generally provides essential website security measures, the website visitor tracking allows to more closely monitor for a website abuse events such as DOS attacks, copyright infringement, illegal data access and website server overloading from excessive number of valid and invalid requests.
- Take advantage of website visitor flow control. Some visitor tracking services such as TraceMyIP also offer features such as control of access and programmatic control of served website content. With these tools, a webmaster, for example, can block certain visitors from accessing a content, send a group of visitors a personalized service message or redirect specific visitors to different pages depending on a variety of factors. This in return helps create a better and more content focused website browsing experience.
- Enable a selective GDPR compliance. Depending on the detected region of a website visitor, a specific GDPR compliance policy can be enabled to ensure website compliance with regional and local GDPR policies.
Website visitor tracking does not present immediate risks or harm
Although website visitor tracking is frequently blamed for privacy risks, it actually poses minimal risks yet remains extremely useful. It does not directly violate privacy of website visitors because any recorded IP address does not reveal an actual individual identity nor the individual’s true and precise location.
It is worth noting that visitor tracking is actually a part of every website hosting server side software. It captures every single visitor IP by default when any machine connects to the service. Complementary third party website visitor tracking services such as TraceMyIP merely offer additional features that allow for better statistics representation based on a visitor IP address.
Blocking IP trackers with anti-tracking software and services can only block third party services. Yet, the very basic website hosting server software remains unaffected because it’s a part of a web server functionality. There is no feasible way on the client side to block server side IP recording built into a website service IP tracking software. This is because in order to access information from a website server, the visitor must connect from a valid IP address which is automatically logged by the server itself. Without an IP address, the server would not be able to send requested website information back to the visitor.
For most part, the risks of website visitor tracking are purposely exaggerated and the word “tracking” itself gets a negative reputation in order to sell commercial countermeasure products and services that purportedly protect against the harms of website statistics collection.
It is important to understand that completely disallowing usage of visitor tracking tools would negatively impact website visitors’ experience because:
- The website content cannot be properly optimized
- Webmasters would have no way of measuring success of their web publishing and business efforts
The impact of blocking website visitor tracking
Imagine giving a performance without even knowing if you had any audience or what was your actual performance rated?
Similar concept applies to online advertisements – block all audience tracking for ads and it will lead to a waste of advertising budgets. And loss of website advertiser sponsorship will degrade financial basis for most of informational Internet infrastructures that rely on the income from advertising. Suddenly, something that you use daily will fail to exist, leaving you without the resources you need.
The positives of the website tracking!
Website visitor tracking is a safe and a flexible tool that allows you to evaluate your online presence, improve the usefulness of your services and information and provide essential security measures.
Observe and analyze your web publishing efforts and share your experience with others. Use your tracking data to deliver useful and functional content and get rewarded for your efforts!
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