Tracking Changes on Web Pages

Often a small change to a web page is a clue that something big has happened or will happen, and automated tracking tools alert you the moment something has changed.

My friend and librarian colleague, Phil Bradley, points to a blog post by Marshall Kirkpatrick that looks at tools and services that alert you to page changes.

First and by far the best (nothing comes even close), is client software called WebSite-Watcher (WSW).

I’ve been using WSW for years and it’s an essential tool. I couldn’t work without it. Why do I like it? Here are a few of the many reasons.

  • You buy it, you own it. No monthly charges.
  • Stable, rarely crashes.
  • Updated versions on a very regular basis.
  • Can monitor pages up to once every minute. So, Phil’s request for a service that monitors pages once an hour is not a problem.
  • Pages are highlighted to show where changes (new content has been added, old content removed) have occurred.
  • Keywords: only show a page has a changed page if certain keywords are included on it.
  • Works on pages that require a login.
  • Also will handle RSS and ATOM feeds
  • Notification of changed pages via email, with changed page attached.
  • Easy to add new pages, one-click and you’re done.
  • Archiving of pages not a problem with this free add-on tool

A two week free trial is available, for Windows only.

The other service I’m currently testing is a web-based alerting service from noted web-developer, Marc Fest, of
QuickBrowse fame. It’s called Trackle. While it’s not nearly as powerful as Website-Watcher but Fest always creates useful tools. Trackle can also monitor pages on an hourly basis. So far, I’m very impressed. Trackle also has a free trial; it’s web based so works with any operating system. is not a bad service though it can be a bit tricky to get it all working right, but the price is right (free). However, the fact that it’s donation-ware site scares me a bit. If I’m going to invest the time and effort to import and organize lots of sites for tracking, I want to know it’s going to be around for a while. That said, it has been online for several years but as we all know, things can change rapidly.

Kirkpatrick also writes about TrackEngine. This is a service that I haven’t used but several colleagues tell me it’s quite impressive. The biggest downside is that tracking many pages can get expensive.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Mining Local Data for the Digital Maps Race
AP (via Media Post) Jan 2 2006 8:01PM GMT
What Happens When You Mashup RSS, IM, and Publishing Services?
Searchblog Jan 2 2006 7:52PM GMT
Navisso Web Search Goes to Open Beta
ResearchBuzz Jan 2 2006 7:50PM GMT
Google team sets sights on big screen
San Francisco Chronicle Jan 2 2006 7:47PM GMT
The Year that Was: ‘Call It Web 1.5 & Shake On It’
Traffick Jan 2 2006 7:44PM GMT
Year in review: Search goes mainstream
CNET Jan 2 2006 7:35PM GMT
Search Engine Journal Blog Awards
Pandia Jan 2 2006 7:32PM GMT
New Research: How Women and Men Use the Internet:
Pew Internet Jan 2 2006 7:28PM GMT
Desktop Search: Just What You Need
PC World Online Jan 2 2006 7:25PM GMT
Q&A: Opera Says It’s Not for Sale
Red Herring Jan 2 2006 7:13PM GMT
New York Tech Firm To Sue Google
Times of India Jan 2 2006 7:11PM GMT
Google Earth: PC World Innovation Award Winner
All Points Blog Jan 2 2006 7:04PM GMT
41% of Google Search Results Page are Ads
Search Engine Round Table Dec 29 2005 11:32PM GMT
Remember 1999? (Revisited, again…)
Traffick Dec 29 2005 11:20PM GMT
What the Google-AOL deal means for users
CNET Dec 29 2005 11:16PM GMT

Related reading

voice search optimization guide 2019
top skills PPC paid search SEM 2019
google search algorithm updates 2018
google ads conversion rates by industry