Hansel & Gretel Left a Breadcrumb Trail - So do Your Website
So, who's been visiting your website lately? What do you mean
you don't know? How can you tell what's working if you don't have
some sort of tracking in place? Measuring website traffic, also
known as "stats," is how you know who's visiting your site, where
they're coming from, how long they stay, entry and exit pages
You need this information to make informed decisions about your
site. You can use it to understand your guests' buying patterns
and to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and promotional
strategies. It can also be used to show you which areas of your
site are the most popular and the pages no one seems to visit.
You can use this information to redesign your site and play-up
the popular pages while eliminating the ones no one views.
So how do you get this valuable information? There are a number
of ways to collect stats on your website. You can:
- Purchase Software
- Use a Free Online Service
- Use a Paid Online Service/ Third Party Auditors
- Use your own Web Host
Let's take each option one by one. First in the group of choices
is buying stats software. The problem with this option is the
hefty price tag. Most of the good ones don't come cheap.
Webtrends.com - http://www.webtrends.com
The leader in stats software, they offer a variety of solutions
for everyone from the small business owner to large corporations.
Prepare to shell out some big bucks depending on your needs. Visit
the site and download a trial copy.
Websitereporter.com - http://www.websitereporter.com
Professional website stats software with many options. Website
Reporter 3.0 offers a free demo and runs on Unix or NT and only
costs between 50 to 75.00. Tracks total hits, maximum hits and
date, report traffic, top entry and exit pages and much more.
At only 99.00, this one is in everyone's price range. Tells
you who's visiting your site and does it very quickly. Includes
a hyperlinked tree view report that graphically shows how visitors
are moving through your site. Runs only on Win 95,98, or NT, but
can analyze log files generated by Unix servers.
Openwebscope.com - http://www.openwebscope.com
Free to download and 69.00 to register. Easy to read charts
and graphs tell you in an instant what visitors are doing on your
site. View sample reports at the site to get a feel for what the
software can do.
Now let's take a look at your options when it comes to free
stats. Many sites offer free stats in exchange for placing a small
banner or button on your pages. Many of them are really good if
you don't mind the small graphic.
Freestats.com - http://www.freestats.com
Free Stats is free and easy to use. The downfall is the code they
give you inserts a banner on the pages you wish to track. They
do offer a "gold" service that eliminates the banners for only
5.95 a month.
Thecounter.com - http://www.thecounter.com
The Counter supplies in-depth traffic reports. Tracks the number
of visitors, referrers, browsers, and more. Simple to use add
a few lines of HTML to your pages and you're good to go.
Stattrack.com - http://www.stattrack.com
Stat Track is more then just a counter; you get detailed information
about your web guests. To use it you will have to tolerate a small
88X31 button on your tracked pages. Sign up, paste the code and
Now, let's move on to third party or pay stats services. Third
party means another server collects and tabulates your website
traffic, not the server your site is hosted on.
Professional SuperStats- http://v2.superstats.com/service_options.html
Offers advanced real time tracking and historical reporting
on site traffic. Not software, it's easy to set up. The tracking
code is invisible to your site visitors, no banners or buttons.
You can also export the data to MS Word, Excel or PDF format for
further analyzing. Only 19.95 per month or 200.00 US dollars for
Bondsmith.com - http://www.bondsmith.com
Provides traffic measurements and third party auditing services
to website owners. Excellent for proving traffic patterns to potential
advertisers. Sign up and get your first month for free.
Site Gauge - http://www.sitegauge.com/reports.htm
Offering a free service, but you have to show banners on your
site. For only 19.95 a month for up to 20,000 page views I'd go
with the Pro service. It's invisible on your site and the stats
collected are really in-depth. You can also request that the stats
be e-mailed to you daily.
The last and final option is your web host. Some web hosts will
be able to supply you with stats but not all of them. You'll have
to ask yours if they do and if there is any charge involved. Usually
they supply you with this information for free as an add-on to
you hosting service, but I have seen some that charge a small
fee for access. Make a point to ask, as many of them won't point
it out to you otherwise.
There you have it, stats in a nut shell. By analyzing your website
statistics you'll be able to make more informed decisions and
know what's working and who's visiting your site. The breadcrumbs
are there.... do you have a system in place to find them?
About the author: Merle's Cyber Promotions http://www.mcpromotions.com/
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