Tracking Your Web Site Visitors
There are many ways tracking your web site visitors can be done. There are programs available like Webalizer, WebTrends, and Hitbox. Most web hosting companies already have web tracking statistics installed on their web hosting plans.
At Fencl Web Design.Com, LLC we offer statistics included with our web hosting plans. If your hosting provider doesn't offer a statistics program, you can transfer your web hosting to us, or have us install one for you on your current web hosting (if allowed by your current web host) that may meet your needs.
There are also free services available that you can join, but you most likely have to place their banner advertisement on your site for the software to be able to track your web sites visitors. These free tracking services are fine for personal sites, but I don't recommend this way of tracking your business web site, because it looks unprofessional to see "Free Counters by XYZPDQ".
You can spend a lot of money and time in advertising your web site, but you really need to know what part of your traffic converts into sales to make it effective. Many web sites place a counter onto their site. This just tells how many people have visited your web site. You also should know where they came from, what types of browsers they use, what the top keywords they searched for at the top search engines, etc. You should track your number of visitors to make sure that your site is running correctly.
An Important Tracking Ratio
Always keep a close eye on the ratio of pages versus visitors. This is a leading indicator to watch. If you see a sharp drop in page views and yet the number of visitors remains consistent there could be a problem with one of your scripts or pages on your site that is causing your visitors to leave. If you made a large site wide change such as changing your navigation buttons, this could also tell you whether this change hurt or helped your web site.
Analyzing your web site traffic can keep you alert of problems or issues with your web site. You need to know this information if you want to improve your web site, and see which search engines and advertisers are working the best for you.
Some web hosting companies offer web server logs, so ask your hosting company if they do. These logs contain important information such as the user's host or IP address, the file they requested, at what time and what URL they were last at. Website statistics software can automatically generate reports from this information to display in an easy to read format.
Raw server logs can be very long and difficult to read. It is pretty easy to read today's current server log, but the processed log may be so large you may not be able to find what you are looking for, or you may not be able to even open it, because the large file size can overload your computers memory.
Web statistics from a program such as Webalizer are a much easier way for day to day web site usage tracking. At Fencl Web Design we use Webalizer on most of our web hosting packages. Webalizer can give you detailed reports on usage such as:
Total Hits, Total Files, Total Pages, Total Visits, Total Kbytes, Total Unique Sites, Total Unique URLs, Total Unique Referrers, Total Unique User Agents
Hits per Hour, Hits per Day, Files per Day, Pages per Day, Visits per Day, KBytes per Day
Hits by Response Code
Code 200 - OK, Code 206 - Partial Content, Code 301 - Moved Permanently, Code 304 - Not Modified, Code 403 - Forbidden, Code 404 - Not Found, Code 405 - Method Not Allowed
Day, Hits, Files, Pages, Visits, Sites, KBytes should be checked daily. This information may also include statistics such as unique visits to your site, top referring URLs to your site, top entry and exit pages, and main countries.
Top Search Strings from Search Engines
I believe the most important statistic is to find out how people find your web site through the search engines. Your site may be getting a lot of visits from people who were searching for "Blue Widgets". You can use this information to make sure that you are stocking enough different kinds of "Blue Widgets" to take advantage of all of your visitors looking for them. You may also find no one is looking for your "Red Widgets" which means you may want to cut back on the number of "Red Widgets" you order, or maybe test some extra search engine advertising on "Red Widgets" to bring them to the level of the "Blue Widgets".
Take a look at these sample stats at http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/sample/index.html and then try May 1999 to see a Monthly break down of statistics.
Want professional help with web statistics?
If you have been thinking about better ways to track your visitors to improve your sales and site, then please contact us for a free quote. Get a free quote.