There are numerous reasons you might want to find out how much traffic a website or a blog gets. Perhaps you are interested in researching websites that compete in the same niche as a website you own.
Maybe you are considering starting a new blog, and you want to research the niche to see if there is enough interest in the topic for your new website to be viable. Perhaps you want to grow the traffic to a blog that you own by replicating and bettering the content that your competitors have. Maybe you’re curious about how much traffic some of the big media publishers’ websites get. Or maybe you’re constructing a strategy to build up traffic to your site via content marketing methods and you need to see what your competitors are ranking for.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to find out traffic data, there are tools and resources available that can give you a general idea of a website’s metrics. Unless you own or manage the actual website, you’re probably not going to be able to pinpoint the visitor count or pageviews with certainty.
However, you can get an estimated idea of the site’s popularity overall.
My favourite tool for finding out website traffic data of websites and blogs is SEMrush and ahrefs. I will go into a bit more detail on these two later in this article.
Rundown of the best website traffic checking tools
1. Alexa.com Rankings
Alexa.com tracks website visitor traffic rankings for many websites on the Internet. Their data is not completely accurate, because it involves flawed methodology. Alexa ranks websites based on how much traffic they get from users who have chosen to install the Alexa toolbar. Alexa toolbar users are a small minority of website users, which makes the data somewhat skewed. However, basic Alexa data is free to the public and easy to obtain, and it does give you insights you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Personally I never use Alexa to check website traffic. Back in the day, it was a good tool because you didn’t have resources like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
At best it’ll give you a very rough idea as to how much traffic a website gets.
For me, ahrefs is vital for my everyday tasks within blogging and affiliate marketing. It is by far the best competitive analysis and tracking tools on the market.
With this software you can get a huge amount of website traffic information such as:
- New, lost and broken backlinks.
- Detailed knowledge on a website’s best pages
- Domains sending the most traffic to a site.
- Search engine rankings.
- How much traffic a search engine ranking is getting a site.
- Pages from a site getting the most traffic.
- You can compare website rankings vs competitors.
And so, so much more…
3. Comscore Reports
Comscore publishes a number of different traffic reports. Their reports tend to cover only the largest publishers, and they include metrics by country for websites with the highest traffic numbers. This can be useful if you are interested in learning about how much traffic the most prominent websites on the Internet are generating.
4. The BuySellAds Marketplace
If a website is using the BuySellAds platform for generating advertising revenue, the site’s ad impressions are disclosed in the BuySellAds marketplace.
5. Press Kits, Media Kits and “Advertise Here” Pages
Many websites make their metrics available to potential advertisers via press kits, media kits or “advertise here” pages. These pages typically might include data about the number of unique visitors, repeat visitors, monthly pageviews, daily pageviews, newsletter subscriber counts, rss feed subscribers and social media followers the website gets.
6. Traffic Estimator at Trafficestimate.com
This free resource gives you a bunch of data in one place, although some of it is inaccurate. You’ll be able to find out some basic Alexa rankings, keyword phrases the website is targeting, other websites targeting similar keyword phrases and websites with close relationships. If you’re researching smaller or newer websites, you might not get any results from this tool. The closely related websites report is flawed; in some cases it does find closely related sites, but in other cases the sites it shows are all unrelated.
7. Compete.com Site Analytics
This is a paid service that allows you to monitor a number of different website metrics, including the USA-based traffic to competing websites.
8. SEMrush.com Competitive Data
SEMrush.com offers another paid service that’s useful for researching the traffic levels to competing websites. You can also use this service for finding information about your competitors’ paid ad campaigns and other details. You can read more on how I use SEMRush for finding traffic data.
9. Similarweb Pro
Similarweb.com makes multiple services available. They offer both a free version and a pro version. Their pro service allows you to monitor competitors’ website traffic statistics. You can also get data about apps using the similarweb.com site.
10. Quantcast Analytics
Quantcast offers you a multiple opportunities to discover a website’s traffic measures. If you are interested in finding out metrics for your own website, you can subscribe to their services to receive detailed insights.
Quantcast also offers website owners the choice to make selected analytics data publicly available. Many website owners take advantage of this because they think it benefits them to show potential advertisers their site’s metrics as verified by an unbiased, trusted third-party source. So you can check to see if the website you are interested in researching has a public Quantcast profile available.
Similar to SEMRush, Searchmetrics will show you the organic search visibility and search traffic for a website and also their top keyword terms that they rank for.
12. Income and Traffic Reports
Some bloggers such as Pat Flynn and Matthew Woodward often share their traffic/income reports with their audience. So have a dig in their archives to see their traffic stats.
Of course some of these third party tools don’t have the full picture but they can really help give you a flavour of what is going on, this study by Moz has some useful insights on how these tools collect data and their accuracy.
Tools You Can Use on Your Own Blog
However, if you’re more interested in understanding your own blogs traffic a little better than these tools will be very useful.
1. Google Analytics
If you’re interested in monitoring web traffic hits to your own website, Google Analytics is one possible resource you could use for this purpose. Google Analytics is worth considering if you want a free solution and you don’t mind sharing all your data with the Internet’s monolithic ad-driven monopoly. If you want more control over your data and your site’s privacy, there are also some alternative options you could consider. With GA you get to see where the traffic is coming from. Knowing your own traffic sources will help you to understand your target audience a lot better.
2. Clicky Web Analytics
If you’re interested in monitoring traffic to your own website, Clicky offers both free and paid versions you might be interested in checking out. Clicky integrates with some of the data from Google Analytics, and this platform also gives you bunches of options that are not available through Google analytics. For example, Clicky offers you some detailed information about your website visitors and search traffic. You’ll learn their usernames, locations, web hosting companies, web browsers, return visits and more.
3. Piwik Analytics
Piwik is a free, open source analytics platform for monitoring web traffic to your own website.
Piwik has some distinct advantages over Google Analytics and other third-party provided analytics platforms. The open source nature of the software allows you to retain complete control over your data without allowing a profit-motivated third party to have access to it.
There are some WordPress plugins available for use with Piwik, and there are also options for custom development.
4. Statpress WordPress Plugin
If your blog or website is powered by the WordPress blog platform, you could use the Statpress plugin to monitor your traffic and traffic sources. Statpress gives you details about the visits to your website from both human visitors and ‘bots. Graphs are included to help you visualize your traffic patterns. You’ll be able to see your metrics for unique visitors, pageviews, ‘bot visits, and more.
Statpress also provides data about the latest hits to your website and where they came from. You’ll be able to access a list of the latest 500 keyword phrases that web searchers queried to find your website.
Statpress is a free, self-hosted plugin. You do not need a security key to use it. You retain control over your data when you use this plugin.
There have been multiple versions of Statpress released and maintained by different WordPress plugin developers. The link above takes you to the version that’s been most recently updated as of the time of this writing.
Woopra is a paid service offering customizable analytics for the purposes of discovering how much web traffic goes to your own website and understanding your website’s customer base. Woopra can help you to develop individual profiles for every user who visits your site. They offer a free trial if you want to learn more.
In my experience so far, these resources have been the most helpful for determining the traffic to a website. You could use a combination of these resources to discover interesting insights about web traffic data and metrics for many different websites or blogs on the Internet.
Have you used any additional resources for finding out how much traffic a website gets? If so, please share them in the comments. I welcome suggestions for other sources that would be good additions to this list.