Continued from page 1
If home page does a good job of this, there will probably be some remnant of visitors who came to your site by mistake, in which case they will leave immediately. But that's OK - they aren't right traffic for you.
It's really your judgment call as to what constitutes a problem. But, that client I mentioned earlier whose visitors spent less than two minutes on his site also had about 85% single access figures on his home page - some things are obvious!
A splash entry page to your site (i.e. one that says "Welcome, enter here", but with little or no actual content) will often also show large single access figures. Although these pages can look very striking, they unfortunately tend to be unpopular with impatient surfers. I've seen splash pages that have lost one third of a site's visitors. If you have a splash page, check single access figures for it in your logs, and be prepared to remove it without hurting feelings of your Webmaster!
Most Active Countries and Cities
If your site is aimed at an international audience, this section will show which country visitors originate from. This information can be useful in making decisions such as providing pages in languages other than English.
The most active cities report is unfortunately very misleading, as it relies on registered location of Internet Service Provider. Most log reports therefore show very disproportionate visitor numbers from Virginia - home of America Online!
Top Referring Sites / URL's / Search Engines
These are Web pages that send visitors to your site. The largest figure here will usually be "No referrer", showing people coming directly to site. This means that they are typing in your URL, or have your site bookmarked, and implies that your other forms of marketing are working.
The log reporting program should display other Web pages that send you traffic as html links, allowing you to click on URL (when online!) to see originating page. This will show effectiveness of your reciprocal links or paid advertising. You will also be able to see other sites that are linking to you. It's worth checking these out if you aren't familiar with them - either to thank them, or to check that their link to you is appropriate.
For search engine referrals, clicking on link will resubmit search, and allow you to evaluate competitors' sites and positioning relative to yours. It's also possible to review keywords that are bringing traffic from one particular source, and to try to improve site's performance for those words in other search engines.
Top Search Keywords and Phrases
This is crucial information, as it shows exactly what people were looking for when they came to your site. Often Web site marketers take their best guess at these keywords on their first design, but because search engines index every word on all your pages, other terms can be found, especially in a content rich site.
So most popular search phrases can tell you what's really "hot" in your products and services. Understanding these is another great key to understanding current needs of your site's market(s), and making business strategy and development decisions. One of my clients recently decided to write a book on a topic area that, until she saw her logs, she had no idea was so sought-after.
There are other sections in log report, especially around technical data for your site. The pieces that I have covered here are significant ones for marketers. If you don't have this information available, I really urge you to get it, and review it - I guarantee that you'll find some gold nuggets!
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is an internationally recognized e-business strategist. Check out her free tipsheet "Beyond the Search Engines" for 17 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or mailto:pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com