Website traffic and log files
Every time someone visits your website information like their IP
address, time and date of access and error messages are recorded
into log files that are saved on your server’s (i.e. your web
host’s) computer. These files can be used to analyze your
website traffic. If your web host doesn’t offer these log files,
it is well worth it to switch to one that does.
The statistics generated by these log files are important tools
for monitoring what your visitors do when they enter your
website. Using the information gleaned from them you can track
your website traffic and tailor your pages for maximum effect.
Below is a checklist of what to look for when analyzing your
Website Statistics and what they mean
A good measure of website activity, it is the number of HTML
pages served. If your visitor goes to ten pages on your site, 10
page views will be generated. This gives a measure for your
content. Generally, the more page views you receive the better
the content. Visits (unique visitors)
A trip to your site by one person, no matter how long they stay
there or how many pages they view. If they leave and come back,
another visit will be generated. Here is a measure of your web
presence. It shows the amount of exposure your website is
receiving from the web.
Most popular pages (i.e. top pages)
Tells you which pages your visitors request most. Helps you
learn what works or what subject matter is generating the most
interest! Be sure to note the content that is generating this
interest and build upon it.
Average number of pages per visit
If this is low, you know your site sucks! A visitor should want
to stay on your site for awhile and this equates to page views.
You need to do some revisions if your page views are low (i.e.
below 4-5 pages). But don’t give up! Just keep working at it
until that number goes up!
This is an important one because it tells you where your
visitors link FROM, who has links to your site, and what search
engines you’re listed with properly. Here is where you can gain
a great amount of insite into your audience. The who, what and
where of your source of visitors.
Tells you what browsers people are using and helps you know how
to design your web pages so that people can use them!
Implementing your website statistics
Once you understand what your visitors are doing you can make
your changes, wait one week, and then analyze your website
traffic again! Look for improved stats and make your plans
accordingly. Understanding your visitors is the first step in
becoming a good webmaster.