Understanding what your
visitors do on your site is crucial information. If your
visitors proceed to purchase a product but then a large
majority leaves the site when they get to a specific page
in the order process, you need to know about it. It could
be that this page is confusing or hard to use. Fixing it
could increase your sales by 200%. This is just an example;
there are many reasons why you want a detailed analysis
of your site visitors.
Most website hosting services offer a stats package that
you can study. If you're not sure where this is, call up
your hosting service and ask them. Statistics are a vital
part of tracking your marketing progress. If you don't have
access to website statistics get a package that can help
you in this area. Do not get a counter that simply shows
how many visitors you've had. You'll be missing out on vital
information that can help strengthen weaknesses in your
A good website hosting service offers traffic logs that
provide an invaluable insight into the traffic being referred
to a web site from various sources such as search engines,
directories and other links.
Unfortunately traffic tracking provided by web hosting services
is often in the form of raw traffic log files or other difficult
to understand cryptic formats. These log files are basically
text files that describe actions on the site. It is literally
impossible to use the raw log files to understand what your
visitors are doing. If you do not have the patience to go
through these huge traffic logs, opting for a traffic-logging
package would be a good idea.
Basically, two options are available to you and these are:
using a log analysis package or subscribing to a remotely
hosted traffic logging service. A remotely hosted traffic
logging service may be easy to use and is generally the
cheaper option of the two. WebTrends Live and HitsLink are
two good, remotely hosted, traffic-monitoring services worth
considering. However, WebTrends Live is a more complicated
system and is suitable for larger ecommerce websites. "SuperStats"
is another recommended traffic logging service.
These services do not use your log files. Typically a small
section of code is placed on any page you want to track.
When the page is viewed, information is stored on the remote
server and available in real time to view in charts and
Log analysis packages are typically expensive to buy and
complex to set up. Apart from commercial packages there
are also some free log analysis packages available, such
A good traffic logging service would provide statistics
pertaining to the following:
" How many people visit your site?
" Where are they from?
" How are visitors finding your site?
" What traffic is coming from search engines, links from
other sites, and other sources?
" What keyword search phrases are they using to find your
" What pages are frequented the most - what information
are visitors most interested in?
" How do visitors navigate within your web site?
Knowing the answers to these and other fundamental questions
is essential for making informed decisions that maximize
the return on investment (ROI) of your web site investment.
The most important aspect of tracking visitors to your website
is analyzing all the statistics you get from your tracking
software. The three main statistics that will show your
overall progress are hits, visitors and page views. Hits
are tracked when any picture or page loads from your server
on to a visitor's browser. Hits, however, can be very misleading.
It is quite an irrelevant statistic for your website.
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
About the author:
Alden Smith is an award
winning author who has been marketing on the internet for
over 7 years. His site, http://www.for-the-record.biz
is loaded with articles and information for the beginning
blogger and internet marketer.