You most likely have a website for your small business by now. If not, what’s the holdup? Even if you have a fully functional website, do you know how it works and how it's being used? It would save you lots of time and energy if you did.

The great thing about it is that there are several options available for you to track visitor use on your site. They vary in intricacy and cost from open source and free, to complex and exceedingly expensive. Even if you have a very basic website, it’s still a smart move to have at, at minimum, one analytical tool, so you have a better understanding of how your visitors are using your website, how they get there, and what they are doing.

Using analytic software requires some degree of expertise, so it’s a smart move to let your web guru or programmer manage this (unless you feel like you want to learn, which can save you money in the future). But once everything is installed, it’s fairly easy to operate the control panels – they are designed to be used by the average business user.

Here are the popular tools you should check out:

Omniture is the big fish in the sea of analytical software and will probably do whatever you want, but it does come with a price tag. If you have a massive website or something that needs complex statistical analysis, you should start using Omniture. It’s not practical for the majority of small businesses because of the price – at least tens of thousands of dollars per month, or more. However, it’s a good idea to know that it’s there when the time comes for it.

Quantcast works by presenting site statistics out in the open and will show the advanced demographics for your visitors. If you need the ability to market your website’s visitor information, you can have your site crawled and Quantcast will present the information for free. It will display who is visiting your site, such as income, ethnicity, age, education, gender, children and browsing location, with a measure of how that compares to the Internet’s average.

Mint is a lovely, real-time statistical tool with plenty of plugins to incorporate new features. The difference between Mint and its competitors is that Mint must be placed on your web server – and you have to install and update it regularly. While other tools are hosted on their servers. But unlike the rest, Mint will let you know how many unique visitors you have, where they come from, who they are, what they do, and many more, and with an easy, visually appealing display. It even updates in real-time, so you never have to wait to see how your site is doing 24 hours later. Mint is only $30 per web domain and you never have to pay a monthly fee!

Chartbeat is a fresh, exciting analytic tool that also works in real-time. You have the option of seeing how many people are on your site right now, what pages they are reading, where they came from, what they said about it on all the social media sites, and many more. This could be valuable for you if you need to change everything right away. And it’s a neat way to see how your site is generating buzz in the now. After a 30 day trial, Chartbeat adds only $10 per month to your overhead.

Google Analytics is the best free analytics tool out there. You should have it installed on your site by now, if you don’t already. There is a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’re good to go. After installing the code snippet on your site, you should see, on a daily basis, how many hits your site has received, how many pages they loaded, which pages are the most viewable, and how many visitors come back again. You also have the ability to see which sites and which search terms they are using on Bing, Yahoo and Google. You even get a plethora of information about your visitors in a comprehensive format, including which computers they browse from, what percentage are mobile users, and what part of the world do they hail from. And if you use [url="https://www.wholesaleforum.com/discuss/adwords.google.com"]AdWords[/GOOGLEURL] or AdSense – either to position ads on Google, or to display them on your website – you can even check the stats for the both of them, all thanks to, yep, you guessed it, Google Analytics.