See your visitors in real-time
One of the most important (and entertaining) ways to use Joomla’s full traffic reporting statistics is to use the Live Stats feature. But as the name suggests, Live Stats does not only give you full reports – it actually serves you the key information as it comes to you in realtime.
This means you can see who’s browsing your site as you use the service – as well as all the information about your users’ vital statistics and chief behaviors as they browse your site.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to using the Joomla Live Stats feature to fully analyze how your website’s traffic is behaving.
Main Realtime Live Stats Overview
Once you log in to your Joomla account and click over to your ExtraWatch, the first tool you’ll notice is Live Stats. There’s a strong reason that this feature is the first to be listed: because it’s so comprehensive. One glance at the overall dashboard will let you know that.
Because this dashboard seems large and complicated at first, you might be a little intimidated to use all of the information right away. But simply follow the steps we take to outline everything you can view with Live Stats and you’ll be amazed at just how simply each and every step is.
Until you know how to use most of the features of Live Stats, the first thing that will strike you about the Live Stats dashboard is that you are indeed viewing your web site’s statistics in realtime, as you can see below:
Simply browsing the main dashboard will show you a lot of basic information about your users. This includes information like where your user is from (as you can see with the flag icons located to the left), which URL they came from last, and which keywords they used to find you in Google. All of this information is available on the main list starting on the left-hand side of the page.
Each listing on this main part of the dashboard gives you an overview of the user’s basic behavior – starting at the top, you’ll find information on the most recent visitors. (Note: you’ll also find that the visitors for your site will update themselves as you use the Live Stats, provided you have enough traffic flow.)
Just about everything you see on this dashboard will give you more options or information if you decide to click on or hover over each individual point. For example, clicking on the globe icon on the far left next to a user’s information will bring up a map that shows the user’s approximate location in conjunction with Google Maps.
(A side note on the map tools you use with Live Stats: you might want to do some configuring to make sure that the maps you see are well integrated with tools like Google Maps.)
Focusing on the Left Side of the Page
To further focus on the information that you can find on the left side of the dashboard, let’s see what happens when you scroll down. In this section, we’ll be looking generally at the left side of the Live Stats main page.
Scrolling down, you’ll see older and older visits (as the newer visits display toward the top) without having so much as ran a report on your traffic statistics yet. As you’ll see, the idea of getting as much data as you can read in a traditional traffic report without actually having to run any program is one of the great features about Joomla.
If this seems like a difficult concept to comprehend at first, remember that just about everything you see on the Joomla Live Stats dashboard is clickable or hoverable – you can get more information as you explore its different features, thus allowing you to get a comprehensive look at your live traffic statistics to unprecedented levels.
Below, you can see a zoom-in of the traffic statistics available to you in Live Stats on the left-hand side of the screen:
As you can see, there is comprehensive information available on each user’s visit even as you go back to view statistics well in the past. Just about every icon, phrase, and number you see has some kind of special meaning – and many of these icons are clickable so that you can expand and learn even more about each individual user.
If you’re paying close attention, you’re seeing that there’s a listing that looks like a clicking hand along with a number on the right side of each visit’s information. That’s because you’re seeing correctly – these numbers represent a very informative statistic for you how many times a user clicked when on a particular page. These clicks you are then able to see in click heat-map.
Using the main Joomla Live Stats dashboard on the left side, you’ll also be able to view where your site has been showing up in Google searches. Needless to say, this can be a very handy and quick way of viewing your site’s overall performance in search engines.
(Quick note: There will be additional features on Joomla for recording where your site ranks in searches, so don’t worry if this sounds like a difficult thing to tally off of the dashboard alone).
While clicking on many of these different icons can help you find out more information about each visit, there are other ways you can customize your experience as well. One way to do this is to hover over the description of the visit, whereupon you’ll see the following box appear:
This box gives you a number of options: first, you can choose to block a specific IP address from your website. This one feature alone will help you to specifically weed out users, spammers, or individual bots that you don’t find conducive to building a good website.
Additionally, you can view the URL parameters of each visitors, and you can use each URL parameter as a goal if you so choose, helping you to customize and build upon the style of traffic that you’d like to see out of your audience in the future.
Because this parameter is customizable, you can add a complete page as a goal, which means you can set a shopping cart page as a goal in order to track your conversion rates. This will additionally help you to measure your traffic flow and conversion rates when combined with other Joomla features like the heat map and traffic flow features.
You don’t have to use goals at first if you’re still getting the hang of using Joomla, but as you get used to the idea of tracking visitor conversions to certain sub-sites like feedback forms and shopping cart pages, you’ll probably end up using this feature perhaps more than any of the other features present in Joomla Live Stats.
If a user that you’re hovering over also submitted some kind of form or performed a similar action at your site, you’ll also be able to view that at this point. It will simply indicate whether or not a user who arrived at your site eventually submitted a form.
Below the Main List
A quick note about what you see below the main list on the left side of the dashboard: your live traffic statistics based not on actual visitors, but by the bots who visited your site. You can view what this looks like below:
As you see, many of the main features for tracking your visitors are still present – IP address, individual navigation statistics, etc. – but the key here is that you can also block these IP addresses in order to ensure that you are capable of repelling spam bots. For example, a spam bot that collects information on your email addresses is not something that you want on your website – that’s a great reason to use Joomla live stats in and of itself.
If you want to unblock certain IP addresses from your blocked list, you’ll be able to do that in a similar area on the right hand of the screen. In both cases, you’ll get an easy-to-view summary of blocked IP addresses that allows you to manage your site’s privacy easily.
So far, this has all been about the left side of the main Joomla Live Stats dashboard. But there’s just as much information to be found over on the right-hand side of the dashboard.
Exploring What’s on the Right
One of the beautiful things about Live Stats is that it allows you to view so much information using the same basic dashboard – you’ll be able to pull up just about all the information you want by exploring the different sides of the Live Stats screen.
At first glance, you’ll get true “Live Stats” – including the history of the traffic your site has been pulling throughout the day. But you can customize these stats and features to view statistics well into the past –indeed, at some points, you can quickly view all of your comprehensive statistics since you began recording your traffic.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top section located over on the right-hand side of the Live Stats dashboard:
As you can see, one of the most prominent visible features is that of the “Last Visit Map,” which uses an icon to display the approximate location of your most recent visitor. You can change where this map is located and zoom out if you’re curious about more of your recent visitors and how your site has been performing across different locations.
In order to make sure that your Live Stats information is properly feeding into this map, you’ll have to perform a very simple operation: acquire the API key of OpenStreetMap. It’s not hard to subscribe to and will allow you an easy-to-navigate map in a prominent place on your Live Stats dashboard.
As you can see in the picture above, right below the main map is a chart of statistics for the week. This simple bar chart allows you to see all sorts of essential stats over the past few days, thus extending all of the statistics you’re able to view on your Live Stats dashboard.
The essential statistics shown here are unique visits, page loads, and overall hits. Live Stats breaks each of these down by day. In the charts above, you can see that the blue bars showed how many unique hits you had, while the green bar displays how many pages they viewed. The number to the right of the blue bars displays a ratio of unique visitors to pages viewed, thus giving you a quick overall idea of how many pages each of your visitors are viewing your site.
Another great feature of Live Stats is that you aren’t limited to viewing only the previous week – you can view different weeks easily by looking at the past (from the moment you started tracking your statistics with Joomla).
Further down the right-hand side of the dashboard, you’ll see this:
All of these statistics refer to daily statistics, as opposed to weekly statistics as you saw higher up. It’s not hard to browse through today’s statistics or simply browse through previous days. You can expand and contract each of the individual results in order to view more or less of the statistics you want to see.
As you also see, there are a number of different types of statistics available here as well. For example, you can read through visits from one page to another, internal features, etc. Each of the daily statistics charts are broken down by starting with the most popular action and working its way down. The percentage you see displayed is how much each action occupied the overall actions taken in each category.
Let’s expand one of the charts to take a further look at how these daily statistics work:
In this example, we’ve opened up the idea of “keyphrases” for one specific day. The “arrow” or “neutral” icons next to the number of instances each keyphrases was used displays how the keyword is performing compared to yesterday’s statistics. For example, in the phrase above, “extrawatch 1.7” saw no increase or decrease from the previous day.
Generally, many of these individual parameters will show a decrease rather than an increase because you’re measuring live statistics against the full statistics of yesterday’s tally. That’s normal and is to be expected.
As you can see, each of the individual entries also contains a chart icon to let you view the individual trends of that parameter.
For example, if you want to click and see the individual trends of a specific key phrase, you can do exactly that by clicking on that chart icon. This will show you daily and weekly stats for the individual parameter you selected in a box that appears over the main dashboard. This essentially allows you to generate an instant report based on a certain criteria you’ve selected – that’s one of the most valuable tools that you’ll find on the right-hand side of the dashboard.
For further customization of the statistics you’re viewing, you can also make sure that you click on the small icon to the right of the numbers and add certain goals to your analysis.
Going further down the right side of the dashboard, you’ll find a number of other criteria – for example, you can view traffic statistics by individual users, with similar analysis available as we saw in our “key phrase” example.
At the bottom of the right hand side, you’ll find something similar to what you see directly above. You can view operating systems for your traffic. And directly below that, you’ll be able to view the daily hits of an IP that you blocked. If you haven’t blocked any IP addresses, of course, then this section will simply appear blank. But you can use this section to also unblock any specific IP that you now want to be able to browse your site.
Keep in mind that you can also block entire IP “wildcard” numbers from your site if you keep receiving visits from a particular spammer. This helps give you even more control over who’s viewing your Joomla site without any inconvenience at all. Simply click “enter IP manually” for more options on blocking specific types of numbers from access to your website.
In addition to all of the live and daily stats that you see on your Live Stats dashboard, you can easily change what you see on the right hand side of the dashboard by selecting a different setting: for example, you can see your all-time traffic statistics. This is a great way to run an “instant report” without having to download any new PDF file or new Word document.
The beauty of Live Stats is that it dos a lot to demonstrate to you exactly what’s going on with your site traffic all in one page. You can certainly integrate your Live Stats with other Joomla features to get an even more comprehensive view of your site and how well it’s directing its users to the right spots. But it all starts with your knowledge and usage of the Live Stats dashboard.