Traffic Analysis Statistics, Cookies & Tracking

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Traffic Analysis Statistics, Cookies & Tracking


Site Statistics - What they should be telling you and probably aren't

Author: Sage Lewis

Site statistics are the underlying visitor details of your site. They can tell you things like: where a visitor came from, what key phrases people are using to find your site on search engines, how many visitors have come to your site, what pages people looked at the most, what pages people looked at the least and even what web browser people used to get to your site. It would seem like that is all the information anyone would ever need to know about a site. However, virtually all statistical analysis programs are very difficult to understand, and the data isn't organized in a very useful manner. While there seems like quite a bit of information, there is so much more useful information that is possible to achieve that could give you much more highly telling results.

For example, with the use of cookies and tying that information into the raw statistical logs that your server tracks, you suddenly can watch amazing things. For example, you could easily watch one user over any period of days or months as they go and come from your site. You would know exactly what pages they saw and if and when they bought from your site or signed up to your newsletter. Affiliate programs and many online shopping carts are using cookies to keep track of when a person buys something or makes a certain action. However, using them in conjunction with server log statistics seems to be a rarity.

By combining cookies with server logs you would be able to track every single marketing strategy. You would know if your pay per click placements turned browsers into buyers or subscribers. By using different domain names, you would easily be able to track all of your offline promotions from beginning to end. Once a person enters your site you would always know exactly where they came from, when they got there and ultimately if you should continue marketing the same way you are marketing now, or if you should try something new.

Having this understanding would change how business is done online. Every marketing investment, every page created and the entire flow of a site could easily be tracked and understood.

Additionally, how you market to people would change significantly for both the site owner and the site visitor. If a person bought one product you could easily suggest other products that they would probably like. Amazon has virtually mastered this feature. This could also work for sites that don't sell online. If you knew a person enjoyed a certain article you could easily suggest to them that they read another article. You could track the exact path people take through your site and compare that with your most wanted response. By understanding this information you could easily tweak your site until this response increased.

However, while the technology is available to do this, most statistical analysis programs largely do not provide the information in this format. The technology that enables this kind of detailed, valuable information is either custom made for a specific, deep-pocketed company or is just extremely expensive. The reason this has happened, in my opinion, is that the average site owner has no idea this information is available. And if there is no apparent demand the chances of seeing this kind of analysis tool in the near future in not likely.

About the author: Sage Lewis, founder and president of the web site promotion firm He has been employed as an Internet Strategist and design/promotion consultant for 5 years. To subscribe to SageRock's marketing newsletter, send a blank message to or visit the company's site at

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