Getting your site stats

Last week I talked about selling ads on your site. It is posted at:
www.imswebtips.com/issue44top1.htm in case you did not
have a chance to read it. Before you can start to effectively sell
ads you must know how many visitors your site is getting. In
fact, you must know a lot about your visitors. Where do they
come from, which pages are they looking out, how long do they
stay? This information is not just important for selling ads, it is
critical for everything related to having a successful web site.

In this weeks and next weeks Promotion articles I will tell you
how you can find and use this information. They are republished
from last year but are still very relevant.

You have created the most spectacular web site on the Internet
that downloads in less than 2.3 seconds on a 9600 baud modem
(yes there are probably still a few of them out there). You have
set up your Meta Tags and registered all your web pages with
over 2000 search engines and indexes. You must now have the
most popular site on the Internet!

How popular is your site? How do you know how many people
are visiting it and just who are your visitors? How effective are
your marketing efforts? Which ads are working and which are
expensive flops? Has some one added a link to your site that
generates almost half your visitors? Why does it work so well
for you and what would happen if they removed the link?

Promoting your site means marketing and half of marketing is
knowledge of who, what, where and why. The most basic
requirement when promoting your web site is access to a good
Web Site visitor analysis program. Without one you are
whistling in the dark. There would simply be no way to know
how well your site and your site promotion efforts are doing.

Just about everyone has access to site analysis software. If you
are running a commercial site on a Windows NT or Unix host or
have your own server, you may find that your system already
includes access to a site analysis program. The two most popular
that I am aware of are Web Trends and Analogue. The former is
a commercial product that includes excellent Visual Feedback.
The latter is a freeware program with access to most of the same
information although you may have to do a little of your own
analysis to understand the data.

If you are using a free site, a site hosted by your access provider
or a commercial site that does not include a daily log file (why
not?) then you can use one of several excellent free site statistic
programs. One that I am familiar with is Site Meter available at
http://www.sitemeter.com/ . There are more. These free
analyzers work by including code (usually JavaScript) on your
web page and sending hit statistics to a database that you can
view at any time. They do not provide the detail of a commercial
program like Web Trends and are not completely private but
they are much better than no feedback at all.

The information you can gather with your analysis program is
extensive and can be invaluable in your promotion effort. It will
list the number of Hits, User Sessions, Page Views, Referring
Sites, Referring URL's, Most Accessed Page, Least Accessed
Page, Top Referring Search Engine, Search Keywords, Search
Phrases and much more. With a little knowledge you can add
codes to your links to get even more feedback about your
promotion efforts.

Next week I will interpret the information that you can expect to
find in you stats program. What is relevant? What does it mean?
How can you use it? And Tricks to help you get more feedback
on your promotion efforts.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 2000 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.

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