17 Best Website Tracking Tools in 2021 [Free + Advanced]

If you’re looking for free web tracking tools, here’s a cheat sheet of the most popular ones covered in this guide:

  • Google Analytics: measure website traffic and find your best (and worst) performing pages
  • Hotjar: track user behavior and gather product experience insights with heatmaps, session recordings, surveys, and user feedback
  • Google Optimize: A/B test page variations to find the best-performing designs
  • Google Search Console: measure SEO performance and check for crawling and speed errors
  • Mixpanel: monitor product metrics like activation, retention, and churn

Traffic is usually the first thing that gets tracked on a website or app, by using web analytics tools. Traffic metrics can tell you how many site visitors you have, how they found you, how long they spend browsing different pages, and how frequently they’re converting into customers.

What traffic metrics can you track?

  • Bounce rate
  • Pageviews
  • User source and medium
  • Session duration or time on page
  • Visitor location
  • Device type (i.e. desktop, tablet, or mobile)
  • New vs returning users
  • Event tracking
  • Goal conversions (e.g. sign-ups, sales, and conversions)

5 top website traffic tracking tools

1. Google Analytics

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Google Analytics GA4 dashboard

What it is: Google Analytics is a popular website analytics tool; the latest version is called GA4.

What you can track: new and returning users, engagement, revenue, retention, demographics, conversions, and events.

Price: free (with limits); upgrade to the paid version (Google 360) for more features and unlimited traffic.

Using WordPress? Google has an official plugin called Site Kit by Google that helps you set up and monitor Google Analytics from your WordPress dashboard.

2. Adobe Analytics

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Page Traffic report in Adobe Analytics

What it is: Adobe Analytics is a traffic analytics and multichannel data collection tool, designed for advanced users and enterprise companies.

What you can track: business intelligence (BI) and traffic data from websites, emails, and apps, including pageviews, unique visitors, purchases, order attribution, segmentation, and customer journey analytics.

Price: on request.

3. Matomo (formerly Piwik)

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Matomo dashboard

What it is: Matomo is an open-source web traffic analytics application.

What you can track: unsampled traffic metrics, ecommerce and event tracking, custom dimensions, goals, and segments.

Price: free (self-hosted).

4. Clicky

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Clicky analytics dashboard

What it is: Clicky is a real-time website traffic analytics tool.

What you can track: real-time data, including visitors, pageviews, and events.

Price: from free for 3,000 pageviews/day.

5. Fathom

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Fathom’s one-page traffic dashboard

What it is: Fathom is a simple, privacy-focused analytics tool.

What you can track: site views, unique views, average time on site, bounce rate, goal completions, referrers, country, user device, and browser type.

Price: from $14/month for 100,000 pageviews.

Pro tip: website tracking isn’t limited to websites you own; you can also track traffic on competitor websites with tools like SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, and Semrush. The data isn’t 100% accurate but should give you a relative understanding of how your website traffic compares to other sites.

SimilarWeb traffic for Hotjar

SimilarWeb’s estimated website traffic for Hotjar.com

By tracking traffic, you’ll get a good idea of what’s going on on your website—the most popular pages, where people leave from, and where they spend time browsing. Now, you’re ready to track how people interact with your pages.

What is behavior tracking?

Behavior tracking shows you where your users click and how they scroll or navigate between pages. The main goal behind user behavior tracking is to measure user experience, find opportunities to improve UX and, as a result, increase conversions and revenue.

What tools can you use to track user behavior?

  • Heatmaps: see an overview of where visitors click, tap, and scroll on a page.
  • Session recordings: view how each user browses across multiple pages.
  • A/B testing: create page design variations and test which performs better.
  • Surveys: get direct feedback from users and track sentiment and satisfaction over time.
  • User testing: interview users as they navigate your site.

5 user behavior tracking tools to improve your website

1. Hotjar

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The main Hotjar customer dashboard

What it is: Hotjar (that’s us, hi there! ) is behavior analytics and user feedback software that helps you understand why visitors do (and don’t) take certain actions on your site, and get voice of the customer (VoC) feedback from them.

What you can track: product experience insights like aggregated visitor clicks, scrolls, and mouse movement with heatmaps; individual user browsing behavior with session recordings; and user feedback with on-site surveys and an Incoming Feedback widget.

Price: from free for 2,000 pageviews/day.

Tracking user behavior in 4 simple steps

Hotjar isn’t technically a single website tracking tool, it’s four tools in one: heatmaps, session recordings, surveys, and user feedback.

1. Heatmaps

A scroll map (left) and a move map (right) on the hotjar.com homepage

A Hotjar scroll map (left) and move map (right)

What is it: Hotjar Heatmaps measure aggregated clicks, taps, scrolls, and mouse movement on any page (from a website or single-page application).

When to use it: use heatmaps to track user behavior and get a visual overview of what content is getting seen and what’s being ignored. Use this insight to make changes to your pages and improve UX.

2. Session Recordings

example of a hotjar recording

An example Hotjar session recording showing user browsing behavior

What is it: Hotjar Recordings are renderings of browsing behavior from individual visitors across one or multiple pages.

When to use it: use session recordings to track how users really experience your site, and see what led to a conversion or exit.

3. Surveys

use open ended questions in NPS surveys

An example NPS survey with follow-up questions

What is it: Hotjar Surveys are targeted pop-up surveys that give you insight direct from the best source of data: your users.

When to use it: use surveys to track customer satisfaction (CSAT surveys), customer effort (CES surveys), and how likely they are to recommend your products or brand (NPS surveys) over time.

4. Incoming Feedback

represention of hotjar incoming feedback in action

Hotjar’s Incoming Feedback widget in action

What is it: Incoming Feedback allows users to tag and comment on any part of a page.

When to use it: use Incoming Feedback to get user insight on any page without setting up a survey, so you can track what people love and hate, identify issues, and find opportunities for improvement.

Understand your users with Hotjar

Use Hotjar to safely track user behavior and understand how people experience and interact with your website or app.

Sign up now. It’s free!

2. Google Optimize

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A/B test setup page in Google Optimize

What it is: Google Optimize is a website experiment platform that integrates with Google Analytics.

What you can track: using A/B testing, split testing, and multivariate testing (MVT), you can test variations of different web pages and measure how they perform.

Price: free (with limits), upgrade to the paid version (Optimize 360) for more features.

3. Crazy Egg

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The main CrazyEgg dashboard

What it is: Crazy Egg is a website optimization, heatmap, and A/B testing tool (see how Hotjar and Crazy Egg compare).

What you can track: A/B test variations of different web pages and measure how they perform with heatmaps and website recordings.

Price: from $288/year.

4. Optimizely

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A/B test results in Optimizely

What it is: Optimizely is a website optimization tool that allows you to run website experiments.

What you can track: A/B, MVT, and split testing results to test variations of different landing pages and optimize performance.

Price: on request.

Get more from Optimizely: Hotjar integrates with Optimizely so you can filter Session Recordings and trigger Surveys by page variant, giving you more data to understand why some pages outperform others.

5. UserTesting

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UserTesting test dashboard

What it is: UserTesting is a usability testing platform that recruits people to test your website.

What you can track: measure qualitative user experience by watching test participants use your app, product, or website and answer questions.

Price: on request.

How to use Hotjar to find user testers on your website

Find user testers with Hotjar Surveys

Building a user testing pop-up survey with Hotjar

Instead of using a third-party user testing platform, you can recruit usability testing participants directly from your website with a simple on-site survey. An incentive such as a gift card can encourage users to get involved, and follow-up questions will help you collect the contact details (i.e. name and email) of interested users so you can invite them to a moderated usability testing session.

Once you’re tracking website traffic and user behavior, the only thing left is to measure how your website is performing in relation to your business goals.

Tracking website performance is about measuring the metrics that matter most to your business. For an SEO team, that might be website speed or keyword rankings; for a product team, it’s likely customer churn or retention.

Whatever metrics matter to your business, there’s a tool to track them.

What performance metrics can you track?

  • Churn
  • Retention
  • Page speed
  • Keyword rankings
  • Ecommerce sales
  • Backlinks
  • Social media shares

6 website and product performance tracking tools

1. Mixpanel

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Mixpanel product dashboard

What it is: Mixpanel is a product analytics tool that tracks performance on mobile and web applications.

What you can track: product metrics like activation, retention, and churn.

Price: free for up to 100k monthly users.

2. Google Search Console

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Google Search Console performance dashboard

What it is: Search Console is a free search optimization tool from Google.

What you can track: measure SEO performance, view keyword impressions and clicks, see your backlinks, and check for crawling and speed errors.

Price: free.

3. ChartMogul

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ChartMogul overview dashboard

What it is: ChartMogul is subscription and revenue tracking software designed for SaaS companies.

What you can track: MRR, ARR, CLV, churn, revenue, sales, and subscriber numbers.

Price: from free for up to $10k MRR.

4. Ahrefs

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Ahrefs Site Explorer dashboard

What it is: Ahrefs is a suite of SEO tools to monitor and grow website traffic from search engines. (We’re big fans of Ahrefs, ourselves!)

What you can track: keyword rankings, backlinks, website speed, and broken links for your own and competitor websites.

Price: from $99/month.

5. Kissmetrics

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Kissmetrics SaaS metric dashboard

What it is: Kissmetrics is product and marketing analytics software for SaaS and ecommerce websites.

What you can track: product metrics like sign-ups, churn, and MRR; ecommerce metrics like sales, revenue, and cart-to-purchase conversion rate.

Price: from $299/month.

6. Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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Salesforce Customer 360 Audiences dashboard

What it is: Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an enterprise-level CRM (customer relationship management) analytics platform for marketers with several add-on tools, including Customer 360 Audiences, Loyalty Management, Social Studio, and Advertising Studio.

What you can track: email and ad campaign performance, customer journeys, and website engagement.

Price: on request.

Understand your users with Hotjar

Use Hotjar to safely track user behavior and understand how people experience and interact with your website or app.

Sign up now. It’s free!

What is the best tool for website visitor tracking?

There’s no single ‘best’ option, but we recommend pairing Google Analytics (the most popular website visitor tracking tool, used by 74% of analytics professionals), with Hotjar (used on over 900,000 websites) to track what’s happening on your website and why.

How do I track user activity on a website?

You can track user activity on a website by using a heatmap or session recording tool like Hotjar. Heatmaps will show you where all users click (or tap), scroll, and move their mouse, while session recordings recreate each individual user’s browsing activity so you can see what led them to convert, bounce, or get stuck.

How do I track user activity on an app?

You can track user activity on single-page applications (SPAs) with most popular website tracking tools, like Google Analytics or Hotjar. Some tracking tools, such as MixPanel and Adobe Analytics, can also track user activity on Android or iOS mobile apps.

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