Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Internet Marketing > Online Business II

Web Site Management: Watching Your Visitors

By Richard Lowe
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004

When you visit a web site an entry is made into a file exposing just about everything you can imagine. Your TCP/IP address is recorded, as is your browser type, JavaScript version and monitor resolution. Even the URL of where you came from is recorded in these log files!

No, this is not some insidious plan of Orwellian proportions aka 1984. In spite of what the newspapers would have you believe, this information is not being maintained in some East German, cold war style database. The purpose is much more mundane, and much more innocent. Believe me, very few webmasters have the time or inclination to look or care about what you personally have done on their web site.

This tracking is simply a function of every decent web server on the planet. It is essential to the management of any credible web site. In fact, if you are a webmaster who has access to your server logs, you can determine exactly what's going on with your web site at any time. If you cannot get to your server logs (and few free hosts will give you that access) then you are stuck with counters and such, which are a poor substitute for the real thing.

What kind of data can you get from your server logs? (Note that Hitbox and other similar services provide many of these functions as well.)

How many visitors do you get for each page of your site? - This is very important so you can determine where to concentrate your efforts. For example, if page A gets 100,000 visitors and B gets 10, then you might want to sell ads on A and somehow improve B (or eliminate it entirely).

How long are visitors staying on each page? - A very useful piece of information which can tell you if people are actually reading your pages or just surfing past them.

What pages are your primary entrance pages? - In spite of popular belief, visitors gain access to your site in every way possible. It's often true that the majority of your visitors may never even see your home page. This kind of statistic allows you to determine which pages your visitors are landing upon. Armed with this information, and you can determine areas of your site which deserve your attentions. For example, if the majority of your visitors are entering your site on page NNN instead of your home page, perhaps you want to include very obvious links to your index on that page.

What are your exit pages? - Even more important is the pages that are causing people to leave your site. You can examine these statistics to see if you are losing visitors needlessly, perhaps due to slow loading, bad content or other reasons. You can correct these and keep your visitors longer.

Which paths are your visitors following? - For example, your visitors enters your site on page A, then surfs to B, then D, then Z, then exits your site. This can help your determine where to place ads and how to restructure your content.

Where are your visitors coming from? - A very critical piece of information, especially if you are running ad campaigns or link exchanges. You can use this statistics to determine if your promotional methods are actually working. In addition, I've found it useful to determine if our site is featured in articles and recommendations.

Which browsers are they using? - A very useful statistics, which can guide you in which HTML tags you use and how you code your web pages. What are their screen resolutions? - If most of your visitors are running 800X600 and your site is 1024X768, then you've got a problem. This statistic can help you fix that.

How many unique visitors did you get? - Different than page views or hits, this statistic helps you determine if you are getting many people visiting your site. This is most useful in determining if an ad campaign is actually working.

What search terms got your visitors here? - Useful if you are optimizing your pages for search engine placement. I've found it very interesting to find out what search keywords are getting people to my site, and how these often bear no resemblance to my own concepts of how people search.

Using these and other statistics, you can optimize your web site. For example, you may find that people are often leaving your site after visiting page XYZ. You can then test that page, and you can determine why it is driving people away. Perhaps it loads slowly or has offensive banner ads? Once you know the cause, you have a chance of correcting the issue.

Using these statistics intelligently, and you can create a better experience for your visitors. If you are selling something on your web site, the statistics will tell you areas that you can improve, and areas that you shouldn't touch because they are working well. Without the statistics, you are running blind.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: ( Weekly newsletter: ( Daily Tips:


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft