Virtual Mechanics

Getting your site stats.

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 data base 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.

Do you currently use a Web Analysis program? If so which one?
How would you rate it? How well do you understand it? If you have
experience with an analysis program, free or commercial, send me an e-mail.
I will also try to post a survey on the VirtualMechanics home page
within the next fews days. Try to let me know one way or the other
and I will compile the list and post it to the newsletter.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 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
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