Site Statistics - What they should be telling you and probably
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.
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 SageRock.com. 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 mailto:email@example.com
or visit the company's site at http://www.sagerock.com
to Web Analytics Index