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

Cookies: How to Improve Your Website AND Learn From Your Visitors

By Steve Nash
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Question: How can you improve your visitors' experience of your
website AND at the same time learn how to improve
your website (or learn how to increase sales)?

Answer: cookies

Cookies? Yes. Let me explain...


A "cookie" is simply a small piece of text information which a
web server stores temporarily with your web visitor's browser.
(Note: cookies are *not* programs.) This means your visitor's
browser remembers some specific information which the web server
can later retrieve.

So cookies simply allow your site to store information on your
visitor's computer for later retrieval.

A basic example of a cookie in action can be found here
- (

Another example is the "online shopping mall" that uses cookies
to add items to a user's "shopping cart" as they browse. And I
use cookies on my own website to make sure a pop-up window loads


Basically, cookies allow you to improve a site visitor's
experience of your website. I've listed a few examples to show
how this can be achieved:

* Cookies can store visitor preferences. This means you can
present customised information to your visitor, as per their
own requirements. (This is how portal sites like MSN work.)

* Cookies can pre-fill form fields for your visitor.

* Cookies can automatically login visitors to your site

* Cookies can provide visitor statistics and therefore help you
understand your visitor's needs. Cookies can provide site
metrics like unique visitors, average number of page-views,
percentage of repeat visitors, et cetera. And cookie-generated
statistics are much more accurate than using log files.

(Do remember though, that people sometimes share computers; some
browsers are set to reject cookies; AND cookies can be erased.)

So not only are cookies an efficient way of keeping track of
information, they also help personalise a site visitor's
experience of your site.

And that's the point with cookies - how can *you* help your site
visitor? (No, it doesn't mean how can you invade your visitors'
privacy! The use of cookies can be abused by site owners, but
this ultimately leads to cookie-blocking software being
installed and used; so set your cookies cautiously!)


CookieCentral is an excellent resource dedicated to all things
Cookie. The site's described as providing "information of
persistent cookies, HTTP cookies, cookies with JavaScript, magic
cookies, [and] maintaining state with cookies and more."

But don't worry if that sounds too technical for you,
CookieCentral really is a great place to learn about the pros and
cons of using cookies. From the concept of cookies through
concerns about privacy to JavaScript and CGI demo code - you'll
find it all at CookieCentral.

- (


If you want to know more about how cookies work, then visit these



As ever, the web is filled with free programs and scripts that
allow you to use cookies. Whether you want to use JavaScript,
CGI/Perl, PHP or ASP - there are free resources that help you
implement cookies on your site.

JavaScript cookies
- (

CGI/Perl cookies
- (

Developing a User Personalization System with PHP and Cookies
- (

ASP and cookies
- (


You can find out a great deal more about using cookies on your
site from the following excellent resources. Just do a search for
"cookies" and off you go!


Cookies can improve your visitors' experience of your web site,
through personalisation. Using cookies, your site may well run
more efficiently too, and could provide you with accurate site
statistics helping you deliver just what your visitors are looking
for. Just use cookies carefully, so your visitors benefit!

About the Author
Steve Nash shows how anyone can sell
online at his brand new website. Visit his FREE
beginners guide now! (
To get more website promotion ideas take his free 7-day
e-mail course, called Website Promotion That Works! Sign-up


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