Analytics Tips

Understanding the Web Traffic Through Log File

By Jerry West

If you have a web site, you should (we hope) have traffic.

Are you tracking how those visitors are coming to your site? If not, your site is not as successful as it can be.

Traffic analysis is one of the most difficult skills to learn for any Web publisher or e-merchant. Fortunately, there are tools to make the job easier. We will give you our recommendation at the end of this article.

In regards to your website traffic, you must know where your visitors are coming from, what paths your visitors are taking and which pages are the main exit points of your site. Also, you need to track which keywords users type in the search engines to get to your site.

By having this information, you will be able to tailor your site to the needs of your visitors.

  • Referring URL This information will tell you where your visitors came from, such as a link on another site or a search engine. If the visitor came from a search engine, the statistics should also tell you which search term was used - which is vital information. An analysis of these search terms can be very valuable when creating or registering your pages.
  • Top Entry Pages Although the main entry page will be your Home Page, by reviewing this information, you will know if a sub page that you did not intend for your visitor to see first is, in fact, one of the main entry points to your site. By knowing which pages most people enter through, you can optimize those pages for an even better search engine ranking. You can also review the content and improve the page copy which can enhance your visitor's experience and your profits.
  • Top Exit Pages By knowing which pages most traffic leaves through, you can decide how to enhance those pages or eliminate them entirely.
  • Paths and Average Time Per Page By reviewing your logs you notice that your top keyword phrase is bringing you 8% of your traffic, but the visitors are generally only viewing the one page and leaving in less than ten seconds. You have a problem. Or, visitors are viewing 4-6 pages each, going to your product order page, then backing out. By viewing how visitors go through your site and the time they spend on each page will alert you to potential problems quickly, or alert you that you are doing just fine and not to mess with success.
  • Most Or Least Visited Pages It is important to know what brings people to your site initially or keeps them there once they have arrived. These statistics can help you determine that.
  • Activity Level By The Hour of Day All sites require maintenance or updating of pages to remain viable. These activities are best accomplished when your site traffic is the lowest.
  • Which Browser Your Visitors Use Although most web page features are compatible with later versions of Netscape or Internet Explorer, you may find your traffic is stronger in one or the other. This fact will help you optimize design features for that browser.

In viewing the above, we highly recommend, and use ourselves, Web Stat. For just $10.00 per month, you can have a strong handle of your website.

© 2000 - 2003,
Jerry West is the Director of Internet Marketing for WebMarketingNow. He has been consulting on the web since 1996 and has assisted hundreds of companies gain an upper-hand over their competition. Visit Web Marketing Now for the latest in marketing tips that are tested and proven.

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