Mining for Gold . . . in your Web Traffic Logs

Written by Philippa Gamse

Understanding your Web site's traffic patterns is a crucial component of your marketing mix. The information in these logs is collected as visitors find and move around your site at their own volition. So, it's "market research that cannot lie" - and therefore provides unprecedented insights that can help you to strategize not only forrepparttar future development ofrepparttar 133619 site itself, but also for your overall business and marketing plan.

I'll describerepparttar 133620 most important sections ofrepparttar 133621 log report when analyzing your site's marketing effectiveness. Often, deciding what's right and what's a problem is a gut feel that you'll develop by looking at your log reports over a period of weeks or months, by trying some new tactics, and observingrepparttar 133622 trends and results.

General Statistics

This introductory section showsrepparttar 133623 overall traffic torepparttar 133624 site, includingrepparttar 133625 number of actual visitors, as opposed to "hits". This is an important distinction - one hit is generated for every page and every individual image that a visitor requests (e.g. a page with some text and five pictures will take six hits to download). So,repparttar 133626 ratio of hits to individual visitors can be quite high.

Byrepparttar 133627 way, it's also important for you to appreciate this distinction if you are selling advertising space on your site. You may be asked by a potential advertiser to prove your traffic levels, and if you happily say "millions of hits", they may look suspicious!

This section also showsrepparttar 133628 average time spent onrepparttar 133629 site, which should give some indication as to how engaging it is. If your site is rich in content, butrepparttar 133630 time spent on it is relatively low, it may not be meetingrepparttar 133631 needs ofrepparttar 133632 visitors it is attracting, or it may be targeted atrepparttar 133633 wrong audience.

I had a client who earlier this year placed #1 in some major search engines. He was ecstatic! But his site had not been worked on for some time, and was very dry and boring. We discovered from his logs thatrepparttar 133634 average time spent on his site was less than two minutes - obviously indicating a problem. And to make my point again, without this evidence fromrepparttar 133635 logs, he would have continued to believe that his site was successful.

Most and Least Requested Pages

The most requested pages are a great barometer ofrepparttar 133636 "hot" areas of your site, and thusrepparttar 133637 most popular aspects of your online products or services. These may be different from your original expectations, and so this information can be very valuable for overall business development decisions.

Ifrepparttar 133638 least requested pages (i.e.repparttar 133639 ones that attractrepparttar 133640 fewest visitors) contain important content, then something's wrong. Usually, it's either that their content is not interesting to your markets after all, or thatrepparttar 133641 site is not driving your traffic to these pages in ways that are attractive.

Top Entry and Exit Pages

Ifrepparttar 133642 inside pages of your site are well promoted inrepparttar 133643 search engines, there should be a number of top entry pages (i.e.repparttar 133644 first page thatrepparttar 133645 visitor sees), in addition torepparttar 133646 home page. This is a good reminder to include clear navigation back to other areas ofrepparttar 133647 site from every page, to ensure thatrepparttar 133648 first-time visitor gets a complete picture of your offerings.

The top exit pages are also an indication of your site's effectiveness - if these are notrepparttar 133649 right places for most visitors to leave from, some adjustments are needed. Make sure that every page of your site has an objective, and that you clearly directrepparttar 133650 visitor torepparttar 133651 next page or torepparttar 133652 action that you wish them to take.

Single Access Pages

These are pages that a visitor views, and leaves without exploring any further. Typically, this will berepparttar 133653 home page, and I am often asked whether this is an issue. I usually giverepparttar 133654 standard consultant's answer: "It depends . . ."

Your home page should quickly showrepparttar 133655 different audiences for your site that they've come torepparttar 133656 right place for what they want, and where to go to find it. So you might have sections for members, prospective members, journalists, consumers, etc. The home page should do enough to engage them, and send them on torepparttar 133657 appropriate inside pages.

Using Ad Tracking Tools

Written by Pamela Heywood

You HAVE to know how well your ads are doing. You cannot just cast thousands of them intorepparttar wind and HOPE that maybe you will getrepparttar 133618 odd result. You must know where is good for your offer, which ads pull best, etc. You need to test and test some more.

Indiscriminate free advertising will not generate sufficient results forrepparttar 133619 amount of effort you'll put in. It will get some results, but you'll be working hard, not smart.

In order to not have to post ads 48 hours a day for 2 clicks in return, you must narrow it down by testing so that you can then spend your precious time concentrating on what works best.

So how do you test?

There's lots of methods, but let me show you how to make use of some ofrepparttar 133620 simplest online tracking tools for your URLs.

The first one I have been testing myself isrepparttar 133621 free service from

Go there and set up a FREE account. You paste your "real" links (the web addresses you want people to actually go to) into their system and they give you a "new" link that you would publish in your ads. How easy can it get?

You can set up as many as you like and keep adding to them, as you wish. You only need one account to track multiple links, ads, websites, offers, affiliate schemes, whatever.

Every day, they send you a report by email that tells you how many clicks you got on each ofrepparttar 133622 different links you set up.

Here's an example from my report:

Link Title: EACZ Bravenet Classifieds Link URL: 1800611284&cpv=1 Link : Date: Clicks 2000-12-11 2

I gave itrepparttar 133623 title I wanted to see so that I could identify it. The Link URL: isrepparttar 133624 real one (online classifieds) and Link: isrepparttar 133625 one I publish, which isrepparttar 133626 one that 2 real live people actually clicked on that day. (Impressive eh?)

I can see several benefits and uses for this:

=> If you have a very long URL, it saves it getting chopped in half in a newsletter or any other email message asrepparttar 133627 original one in this example obviously would.

If it gets chopped, it won't be "clickable", which means to work someone would need to copy and paste it in bits into their browser. Yeah! You think so?

No-one bothers, because that takes too much effort. In reality, they will either click what comes inrepparttar 133628 first half ending up atrepparttar 133629 wrong place -- usuallyrepparttar 133630 right place, but without your reference on, or more likely, they will just skip it altogether.

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