After 2 years of designing Web Sites, I decided to take a peek at one of my customer's log files. My fear disappeared after about 10 seconds of looking at it. In midst of some weird symbols and long lines of funny characters, was able to see something familiar. It was site's web address! Of course! That is what people see when they come to this site and that is what web server writes in log file!
I got very excited because all this time that I have read about log files, I kept ignoring it. I thought "they are not for me - they are for real geeky web professionals who spend their time decoding this stuff". Wrong! They WERE for me. They were meant to help me track my customers' success and I never bothered to look.
By way, if you have never seen a log file, here is one line from my customer's web site's log file:
22.214.171.124 - - [06/Sep/2000:23:20:38 -0400] "GET / HTTP/ 1.0" 200 1074 "www.mamma.com/Mamma?p1=1&timeout=4&query=phot os+seniors&qtype=0&x=1&y=11" "Mozilla/2.0(compatible; MSIE 3.02; AK; Windows 95)"
The most important piece of information to you, as a web designer, in this line is
because it tells you how user found you. Did he find you through link from another web site where you advertise? Did he just type your web address in location bar because he already knew it? Or did he find it through a Search Engine query?