Yes, website owners can see who visits their website and often with a great detail of useful information. However, this data is completely anonymous in order to be compliant with many data privacy laws such as the GDPR that protects online users.
Therefore online identifiers, including cookie identifiers, internet protocol addresses and device identifiers cannot be seen by website owners.
Website owners can view information about you on their website such as what pages you have viewed and for how long.
They can also see what source you have come from e.g. if you came to their website from Google, Bing, an email marketing campaign, a PPC ad or if you came to their website direct.
Website owners can additionally view what browser you are using, what country you are browsing their website from, what language your browser is set to and what device you are using, whether that be a desktop, mobile or tablet device.
Website owners can even see what type of network you are using e.g. WiFi or 4G and they can see what ISP you are using.
You may be asking - "I am a website owner and I want to collect all of this awesome useful information about my website users! How do I collect this?"
Well, you can do this in many different ways but one of the most popular ways to collect this information would be to use Google's, Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is completely free and you can create an account for this here: https://analytics.google.com/
What's more is Google Analytics is fairly simple to use. Once you have created an account you just need to install a small snippet of tracking code on your website which will look something like the below.
Once this tracking code has been installed on your website, Google Analytics automatically tracks a ton of basic information about users browsing your website without any need for setup on your end!
It is just a matter of knowing where to look in your Google Analytics account to view the information you would like to see.
Additionally, there are more advanced tools that you can use to track more complex information about users on your website which are also provided by Google.
These are Google Tag Manager and Google Optimize both of which are also free and are setup using an account and a tracking code.
Moreover, both Google Tag Manager and Google Optimize integrate with Google Analytics.
Google Tag Manager allows for triggers and tags to be setup which can track custom events such as a user completing a form, a user clicking a phone or email link and much more.
Google Tag Manager can be found here: https://tagmanager.google.com/
Google Optimize allows for the A/B testing which means an A version of a page and a B version of a page that are both slightly different are submitted to Google Optimize by the website owner and Google Optimize shows these two pages to users on an alternating even basis and measures information about users who interact with these pages to allow website owners to find out which page is better.
Google Optimize can be found here: https://optimize.google.com/
To round of this blog, it may be a little confusing and daunting to figure out all of these website tracking tools, however Google Analytics is a must have for any website as it provides you with so much invaluable information.
Google Tag Manager and Google Optimize are also great additions to have for a website which will help further your website success.
If you do need a hand with setting up any of these tools or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us below and we will be happy to help.