Remember middle school science fairs? You know, the ones where you conducted your own experiment outside of school and presented your findings on a tri-fold cardboard poster in the gym.

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They're where you do something like try to measure whether room temperature impacts how often crickets chirp — only to find out that it's impossible to measure how many times 50 crickets you got at PetCo chirp per minute.

Then, the crickets escape, and your house has a legitimate cricket infestation for about three months. You also have no actual data for your board, so you make it all up. And when you present your "findings," your science teacher, Mrs. Denues, sees that you're clearly lying but can't prove it, so she gives you a C- and writes that she "expected more from you" on the back of your board when she hands it back.

So you go home and tear it apart while weeping shameful tears to a chorus of invasive cricket chirps in your own kitchen. Of course, that's just a purely hypothetical situation that totally never happened to me, but you know what I'm talking about.

Now, imagine you're in a science fair with your trifold board. Only in this situation the fair never ends and you have the option to adjust both your experiment and the board itself on a consistent basis. However, you don't get to awkwardly stand next to it all day and see how all your teachers and classmates' parents react.

In this scenario, would it help to know who was checking out your board, which aspects of it they were receptive to, and which parts of your experiment might need work to improve your grade? Of course, it would.

Now, apply that principle to your business. In this case, your product and sales efforts are your experiment, your website is your tri-fold board, and you have the option to keep a pulse on where to improve both by tracking your website activity.

Here, we'll learn why it's important to track your website activity, how to go about doing it, and some of the tools available to support those efforts.

Why You Should Track Your Website Activity

Closely tracking and understanding your website activity can inform more thoughtful, effective sales efforts — particularly for B2B companies. The practice offers perspective on what kinds of visitors your site is appealing to.

By tracking how your site is registering with prospects, you gain insight into their buying intentions and what aspects of your UX and messaging are most effective. Some kinds of web tracking and analysis software also allow you to pin down the specific companies that individual visitors work for to better bolster your outreach efforts.

Ultimately, tracking website activity lets you know your prospects and leads better. It can shape better-constructed buyer personas and offers insight into areas for improvement and opportunities you're yet to explore.

In an era where a well-maintained website is becoming a staple for successful companies, neglecting to track and understand your web traffic can kneecap your business potential. That's why website activity software is becoming a necessity.

Without it, you're depriving your business of the necessary insight to make meaningful improvements to your website, hone in on the prospects interacting with you digitally, and get the most out of your online presence. And with the wealth of excellent website activity software available for free or at reasonable prices, there's no excuse not to have it.

Here are some of the best website activity software available.

1. HubSpot CRM

Price: Free

The HubSpot CRM includes a robust suite of website activity tracking features — all of which are automatically included on any webpage you host on HubSpot. It also contains resources for comprehensive web activity analysis.

The software lets you keep careful tabs on metrics like entrances, exits, visit lengths, bounce rate, and the efficacy of your calls-to-action for individual pages. That includes crucial contact points like blog posts, landing pages, and knowledge bases.

HubSpot's CRM can identify the sources of your website's activity, so you can see how effective your efforts are across all of your traffic and lead generation methods, including social media, paid search, and email marketing. It also allows you to save the result of your web analysis as a report or export them into a downloadable file.

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HubSpot's CRM has free plans available for small, maturing, and large businesses. If your business is looking for a premier web activity monitoring and analysis software at no cost, consider giving HubSpot CRM a try.

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2. Google Analytics

Price: Free

Google Analytics might be the most popular web tracking and analytics software available. It's a multifaceted platform — one that allows you to monitor and dissect traffic and user behavior trends across a wide variety of metrics. Those capabilities include measuring incoming traffic sources, interactions per visit, bounce rates, page views, and average visit duration.

GA's user interface is relatively accessible, but the range of functions can be a lot for some users to handle. That's why Google has an entire certification academy dedicated to how to make effective use of the platform. It takes some training and finesse, but once you know how to leverage Google Analytics effectively, you're bound to get a lot out of it.

Google Analytics is free to use, but as I mentioned, it takes some training and dedicated time to get as much out of it as possible. It's one of the most challenging options on this list, but the benefits of its practical applications can make it worthwhile. If your business is willing to put some extra effort, Google Analytics is an option worth exploring.

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3. Leadfeeder

Price: Free plans available

Leadfeeder's website tracking software contains a solid suite of web analytics features that provide you with a comprehensive picture of the businesses and decision-makers that engage with your website. It's tailored to suit the web-tracking needs of B2B companies.

The software identifies the companies behind your anonymous web traffic and shows you both where they're coming from and which elements of your website they're interacting with. Leadfeeder also includes a feature that automatically notifies sales reps when qualified prospects interact with certain aspects of your site.

Leadfeeder has a free plan available with the option to upgrade to a premium plan with features that allow for more detailed website activity analysis for $55 per month. Leadfeeder also integrates seamlessly with several other platforms, including HubSpot. Ultimately, Leadfeeder is a good option for B2B businesses looking for an affordable option that will sync well with their sales efforts.

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4. Hitsteps

Price: Free plans available

Hitsteps is a platform that contains the infrastructure for tracking and analyzing web statistics in addition to individual page analysis. It features a sleek, accessible user interface with an easily navigable dashboard that offers visibility into most of its website activity tracking metrics. It also offers a heatmap that shows which elements of your website visitors are interacting with the most and resources to identify the companies that visitors work for.

Hitsteps' pricing structure is tiered based on the volume of traffic your website generates. It's free for up to 2,000 pageviews per month. There are four premium plans beyond its free option — the highest being $49.99 per month for up to one million pageviews. Its most basic plan can accommodate a business just starting to get traction online, and it's pricier choices are still reasonable for businesses of appropriate scales.

If you're looking for a website activity software that reconciles a smooth user experience with a fair price tag, give Hitsteps a shot.

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When it comes down to it, leveraging a website activity software is one of the better choices you can make for your business. As your business grows, you'll need to adapt your web presence to accommodate new prospects that might be interested in your product or service.

If you're trying to make those changes without understanding the sources and nature of your web traffic, you're essentially shooting in the dark.

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Originally published May 19, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated May 19 2020

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