Web Site Management: StatisticsWritten by Richard Lowe
Statistics are your most important resource! Used properly, web site statistics will tell you who is visiting your site, where they came from, what search engines they used, their browser types and even their monitor resolutions.
These statistics are critical for your survival as a webmaster. You MUST know what's going on with your site. Is it being visited and who is visiting it? What pages are people visiting? These are essential statistics that you must watch carefully and often.
Why? To improve your site and it's ability to fulfill it's purpose. You've put a lot of work into creating a site and you want it to accomplish some goal. In order to know if you are achieving goal, you must look at what's going on.
I guess first question a webmaster asks is "is anyone visiting my site at all?" A hit counter fulfills this need nicely. You can create a simple one with CGI, you can use a built-in feature if you use Frontpage 2000, or you can use any number of free or almost free hit counters available all over web.
For more complex questions I would recommend a good statistics package. If you are running your own server you have it made - lots of tools are available. Otherwise, you would be best served to use one of free services available. Some good ones are listed below.
- Hitbox - Counter.Com
Has your site been crash tested?Written by Robin Porter
Are you absolutely certain that everything on your site works correctly?
We recently had following unfortunate experience. After focusing heavily on marketing, we launched a new marketing campaign. Soon we had an irate email. A gentleman pointed out he could not get free download nor could he place an order. We had already received orders, so we were just about to dismiss this as writings of a computer illiterate, who probably had trouble turning thing on, when we decided to check it out.
And to my horror he was right! We have two identical sites, with different domain names, and I had just spent a small fortune promoting one of them, to find it was not possible to place an order! It took only a few minutes to find problem – wrong links to order page. I had checked this before, but somehow page was subsequently changed and uploaded. He later informed me that free download was not downloading, despite a free bonus (a "thankyou" for bringing it to my attention) downloading perfectly well.
We tried –and again, he was right! We couldn’t see problem, so we just uploaded a "fresh" version, and it worked. I don’t even want to think how many customers we might of lost – most people will just abandon your site, rather than take time to let you know something is wrong. So this chap could have saved us a fortune – so I sent him a free bonus! He was as pleased as punch, and I was grateful that someone out there took time to point problems out. He is my best customer – he hasn’t purchased anything, but he saved me from losing dozens of potential customers, who would simply "surf" elsewhere when things didn’t work.