Don’t let the vast amount of information contained in your web statistics log throw you off. The following is a concise explanation of what characteristics to search for…
It is essential information to comprehend what your site’s visitors do while they are there. You need to be aware of the situation if your website visitors go on to purchase a product from you but then leave the site in large numbers when they reach a particular page in the process of placing their order. It’s possible that this page is difficult to understand or navigate properly. If you fix it, it could result in a 200 percent increase in your sales. This is just one illustration; there are many other explanations for why you would need a comprehensive analysis of the people who visit your website.
The majority of website hosting services provide their customers with a web statistics package that can be analyzed. If you are unsure where this is located, you should contact the hosting service that you are using and ask them. The collection and analysis of statistics is an essential component of monitoring the progress of your marketing. If you do not currently have access to website statistics, you should consider purchasing a package that can assist you in this area. Do not get a counter that merely indicates the number of people who have visited your site. You won’t have access to critical information that could assist you in improving areas of your website that need improvement.
A reliable website hosting service will provide access to traffic logs, which can provide a wealth of information regarding the traffic that is directed to a website from a variety of sources, including search engines, directories, and other links.
Unfortunately, the tracking of traffic that is provided by web hosting services typically comes in the form of raw traffic log files or other cryptic formats that are difficult to understand. These log files are essentially text files that describe activities that took place on the website. It is literally impossible to understand what your visitors are doing by using the raw log files as your source of information. If you do not have the patience to go through these enormous traffic logs, purchasing a package that includes traffic logging would be a good idea for you to consider.
You essentially have two options available to you, and these are the following: using a log analysis package or subscribing to a traffic logging service that is remotely hosted.
Both of these options are described in more detail below. It is possible that a traffic logging service that is remotely hosted is simple to use, and in general, this option is the more affordable of the two.
Both WebTrends Live and HitsLink are excellent traffic monitoring services that are remotely hosted and both should be taken into consideration. On the other hand, the WebTrends Live platform is a more involved solution that is better suited for larger e-commerce websites. Another highly recommended traffic logging service is known as “SuperStats.”
The log files that you keep for these services are not used. In most cases, a small section of code is added to each page that you want to monitor in order to do so. The information is saved on the remote server whenever the page is viewed, and it can be accessed and viewed in the form of charts and tables in real time.
Log analysis software packages are typically difficult to install and come with a high price tag. In addition to the commercially available packages, there are also some free log analysis packages such as Analog that can be utilized.
A good web statistics service would provide statistics pertaining to the following:
1 How many people visit your site?
2 Where are they from?
3 How are visitors finding your site?
4 What traffic is coming from search engines, links from other sites, and other sources?
5 What keyword search phrases are they using to find your site?
6 What pages are frequented the most – what information are visitors most interested in?
7 How do visitors navigate within your web site?
For you to be able to make educated decisions that will maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your investment in a website, it is essential for you to know the answers to these and other fundamental questions.
Analyzing all of the statistics that are gathered by your tracking software is the most essential step in the process of monitoring who visits your website. Hits, visitors, and page views are the three primary statistics that will show your progress in a more comprehensive manner. When a picture or page from your server loads in a visitor’s browser, this is counted as a hit. However, hits don’t always tell the whole story. It is a statistic that is not very relevant to your website at all.
The statistic that is probably the most important for a website is Page Views/Visitors. This gives you a good indication of two things. First, how many people are coming to your site, and secondly how long are they staying on your site. If you have 250 visitors and 300 page views you can figure that most visitors view one page on your site and then leave. Generally, if you’re not getting 2 page views per visitor then you should consider upgrading your site’s content so your visitors will stay around longer.
If you see the number of visitors you have increasing as well as the number of page views per visitor increasing then keep up the good work! Always look for this stat as an overall barometer of how your site design is going and if your marketing campaigns are taking hold.
Also, a good stat to look for is unique visitors. Once a person visits your site they will not be added to the unique visitors’ category if they visit again. This is a good way to track new visitors to your website.
Page views are a good indication of how “sticky” your website is. A good statistic to keep is Page Views divided by the number of Visitors you have. This statistic will give you a good idea if your content is interesting and if your visitors are staying on your site for a long time and surfing.
Some people are intimidated by web traffic statistics (mostly because of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn’t be. While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be used for more in-depth web traffic analysis, the above areas alone can provide invaluable information on your visitors and your website performance. Remember- this data is available for a reason.
It’s up to you to use it.