The 5 best website analytics tools

These are the five best website analytics tools to help you understand how visitors find your site, interact with your content, and convert to customers.

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Once your website is designed, built, and published, the real fun begins: analytics and optimization.

By tracking how visitors discover your site, how they navigate around it, and what content they engage with, you can learn what’s working and what’s not. With this valuable data, you can start to optimize your site and make improvements that will attract more visitors and increase engagement. 

Depending on your goals, you can use many kinds of web analytics tools to track the most relevant metrics for your site. In fact, an almost overwhelming number of different solutions will promise to help you generate more traffic, create more leads, build better content, and sell more products.

So to help you get started, we’ve chosen five of the best web analytics tools (along with an alternative or two for each) to help you get started. 

1. Best overall website analytics tool: Google Analytics

What it does

Google Analytics (GA) is the go-to platform most marketers use to measure website traffic and SEO performance. While the insights the platform provides aren’t perfect (the data is sampled and scaled, not a precise measurement of your total traffic), it’s free and relatively easy to set up on your site

Once you’ve created and verified your account, GA starts delivering reports on metrics like pageviews, traffic sources, bounce rates, and search queries that help you understand how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, and how much time they’re spending on different pages. 

Why we recommend it

Traffic metrics are a great starting point, and you should measure them. But as you get more comfortable with GA, you can dig even deeper by setting up conversion goals (like landing on a thank-you page after submitting a form) or events (like playing a demo video or clicking on a download link). These kinds of insights about user behavior help you measure campaign performance and improve conversion rates across your site.  

Note: as of July 2023, the current universal instance of Google Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4, a more robust but — according to some critics — less intuitive version of the platform. 

What customers say

“It's easy to install and even with minimal knowledge of the platform, you can gain meaningful insights from your web traffic and start implementing meaningful changes to your web properties.”

- G2 reviewer Maria Alejandra G. 


“I can accurately track site visitors and their behavior while on my site. Google Analytics is the best free tool I have used by far. I can't believe they don't charge for it. Benefits include ready-made visual reports and graphs that I can send directly to my customers, a deep dive into where visitors came from (referrer), how long they stay on my site (time on site), and what percentage of visitors only view one page (bounce rate).”

- G2 reviewer Mark D.

Google Analytics alternatives 

For more Google Analytics alternatives, check out our comprehensive post.

2. Best SEO analytics tool: Ahrefs

What it does

  • Ahrefs analyzes your website’s organic search performance and helps identify opportunities to drive more traffic. You can use Ahrefs to conduct keyword research, audit your site, analyze competitors, monitor backlinks, and track your site’s ranking over time. 

Why we recommend it

While Ahrefs’ keyword research and site audit tools are on par with other SEO software solutions, their backlink analyzer and competitor research tools set them a few paces ahead of the pack. The Ahrefs blog and YouTube channel are also full of top-notch training content to help you level up your product knowledge and general SEO skills. 

What customers say

“I kind of LIVE in Ahrefs. If there's anything I want to know about a website and its SEO, I will put it in Ahrefs and find all the data I need. Whether it's keyword research, competitor research [or] backlink research, Ahrefs has got you covered. And they keep adding functionality and options. You can even suggest changes to the tool when you're a paying user.”

- Capterra reviewer Nathan V.

"I use Ahrefs for site audits, keyword research, competitor analysis and backlink analysis. Because these categories are main components of the site, it is so simple to go in, tinker with information going in and get easy to recognize outputs, I can take this to the clients and explain where we can make improvements and raise their site health score and get easy wins in Google to rank better.”

- G2 reviewer Chase O. 

Ahrefs alternatives

  • Note: In addition to an all-in-one SEO platform like Ahrefs, make sure you take advantage of the free search performance data you can get directly from Google in Google Search Console (GSC), the sister tool to Google Analytics. While GSC doesn’t include the robust research and discovery features of Ahrefs, it’s still a treasure trove of data — over 75% of SEO experts report that they review their GSC reports on a daily or weekly basis.

3. Best heatmapping tool: Hotjar

What it does

Hotjar tracks how users interact with your site by recording real-time sessions and producing visual “heatmaps” of how visitors move, scroll, and click on your pages. 

Why we recommend it

Heatmaps and session recordings give you a real-life snapshot of how your website visitors interact with your content and reveal immediate opportunities to improve their experience. You can use heatmaps to pinpoint ways to boost conversions. For example, moving a vital CTA to a more prominent position, or surfacing moments on your site when visitors may lose interest and stop scrolling, or exit altogether. Watching recordings of real people interacting with your site can help you understand ways to improve navigation and user experience. 

Hotjar is easy to start using by adding a snippet of tracking code to your site, and it’s free — though you can upgrade to a paid subscription to access more session data and deeper insights.

What customers say

“Hotjar is easy to implement and provides a robust kit of tools to understand audience interactions with any browser-based projects better. I can't fault how quickly you can start gathering data and how well presented the sessions recording, heatmaps, and user feedback information is presented to explore.”

- G2 reviewer David K.

”Hotjar does exactly what I need: gives context to the issues I see in Google Analytics, and allows me to get into the mind of the user with greater depth...Installation is easy, setting up heatmaps is a snap, and results analysis is an easy task with the Hotjar interface. This has saved more of my precious time for true analysis, rather than setup and configuration.”

- Capterra reviewer Trevor A.

Hotjar alternatives 

  • If you want the added functionality of A/B testing for landing pages: CrazyEgg

Best user analytics tool: Amplitude

What it does

Amplitude provides in-depth user analytics and data visualizations that help you understand how your customers are interacting with your website and software products. This includes visualizing customer journey paths, identifying most-used features or drop-off points, and surfacing conversion and retention drivers. 

Why we recommend it

If you want to get a clearer picture of your customer behavior and product usage, Amplitude will help you dig into detailed analysis without requiring advanced skills (like knowing SQL). Plus, Amplitude has a generous free plan, so you can learn whether the tool is right for you and get a lot of value before you commit to a hefty monthly or annual subscription. 

What customers say

“It makes both high-level KPI / product usage tracking easy. I can see all the metrics I care about in one place and build out complicated funnels or segmentation reports to understand where things are breaking down.”

- G2 reviewer

“This tool is extremely easy to deploy yet extremely powerful — you can very easily monitor any aspect of your user's experience within the app, and use the web frontend to create amazing charts and graphs that give you full insight into the user's experience.”

- Capterra reviewer Yaron K.

Amplitude alternatives

5. Best web analytics dashboard tool: Tableau

What it does

Tableau is a visual analytics platform that allows you to consolidate and present data in compelling dashboards and reports that are customizable, shareable, and easy to understand. 

Why we recommend it

While companies use Tableau for reporting across many departments and use cases, the platform’s flexibility makes it an especially good fit for marketing analytics. You can pull in data from Google Analytics and other cloud services and build visually appealing dashboards that track key metrics such as traffic, lead activity, website goal conversions, and campaign performance.

What customers say

“I really enjoy the multitude of ways data can be displayed in Tableau. The drag and drop nature of the program makes viewing one set of data as a function of another informative. It is also easy to export those data findings to share with colleagues or on the web.”

- G2 reviewer Nick P.

“Tableau has allowed me to present complex data in a very simple and easily understandable way thanks to the many visualizations available. This has made presenting findings and reporting to senior management as well as clients very easy. Tableau has been very reliable and has been a one-stop solution for all my company's data analytics needs mainly due to the fact that it allows us to combine all our data across various tools and work on them together.”

- Capterra reviewer

Tableau alternatives

  • If you want more prebuilt resources and templates: Databox

Building a better site with the help of metrics

These five tools will help you get started with measuring web analytics — the first step to improving your site to provide an even better experience to your users.

Looking for even more ideas? Check out our library of web analytics tool integrations to see the different ways you can analyze and optimize your Webflow site.

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June 28, 2022



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