Web Site Analytics

Web site analytics is an important part of web site success. After all - if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

Web site analytics (the analysis of web sites) is about measuring who is visiting your web site, how they got there, what they do when they are on your web site, and what they do when they leave your web site. (For information about web site analytics see our Increase Search Engine Ranking and Improve Search Engine Ranking pages). 

When you’re starting off with a web site your focus tends to be on what to show the world. You then start to focus on results and the number of visitors to your web site. How to improve the effectiveness of your web site becomes the focus of your attention. At this stage you need to know what is happening – you need to track and analyse your site statistics - in other words - Web Site Analytics.

Your web site hosting company should already be providing you with the basic information you need for web site analytics. There is no excuse for a commercial hosting service to not be doing so. Until you have the core information you need to make intelligent decisions about your web site, in our opinion you are wasting your time and money - you are running blind. So, if you aren't getting the statistics you need for at least elementary web site analytics - CHANGE YOUR SUPPLIER. 

The need to expand your web site analytics beyond what free analysis packages can provide is typically driven by your growing understanding of just what you can do with good web analytics.

Typical reasons include:

  • The number of pages on your site grows beyond the capabilities of your free web analytics solution

  • You want to track specific promotions and your free analytics solution only deals with higher level statistics

  • You want detailed tracking of site 'paths' (not just Entry and Exit) so you can see which pages are working and which pages are not

  • You want to be able to link individual visitor stats to (say) an external CRM system.

  • You want to track stats in conjunction with traditional A/B Split Testing. 

We have tried a number of options over the last decade: 

  • Too many ISP's provided beautiful but dumb web analytics information that took forever to load and only showed just a glimpse of what was possible because they wanted to upsell us (at great expense) to something that was actually useful

  • Other web analytics software focussed on the hardware and technical aspects of traffic when we wanted to understand our site visitors

  • Some external services provided information for free but it involved hidden graphics on each and every web page on the site - which of course slowed down the load times for individual pages. The other problem with this approach was accuracy - not every hit got recorded on the remote server. Sometimes this was because the provider had a slow server, but most of the time it was because of the instability of the Internet.

  • The best solutions - the ones that came with everything we thought we could ever need - were so expensive as far as we were concerned that they were just not an option.

Finally we decided that the best option for us was to to download our server logs and analyse them in-house. We looked at about a dozen desktop web site analytics packages and finally found a system that provided what we wanted - with as much detail as we needed, was easy to use, and was fast. We settled on a package called WebLog Expert.

WebLog Expert can help you reveal important statistics about your web site usage: activity of visitors, access statistics, paths through the site, visitors' browsers, and much more. Most importantly it can analyse EVERY page on your web site – not just the top 15 or top 30 pages like so many other options that cost as much – or more.

The full version of WebLog Expert costs $74.95. One license of WebLog Expert allows you to use the program on one computer and analyze log data from unlimited number of sites. If you purchase WebLog Expert you get all future versions of the program free of charge.

The following information is available for EVERY page on your site:

  • General statistics

  • Activity statistics: daily, by hour, by day - and by months

  • Access statistics: statistics for pages, files, images, directories, entry pages, exit pages, paths through the site and file types

  • Information about visitors: hosts, top-level domains, countries, states, cities, organizations, authenticated users

  • Referrers: referring sites, URLs, search engines (including detailed information about search phrases and keywords)

  • Browsers, operating systems and web spider statistics

  • Information about errors: error types, detailed 404 error information

  • Tracked files statistics (activity and referrers)

To avoid information overload filtered views of your reports are available.

For a 30-day risk-free trial of WebLog Expert, or to own a WebLog Expert system, visit http://www.weblogexpert.com.

For us the combination of Webalizer and WebLog Expert is great - and we think the combination is ideal for the majority of web site owners needing to extend their investment in web site analytics. 

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