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MAIN Arrow to Computer AgeTechnology Arrow to Computer Age - InternetInternet Arrow to Web Site StatisticsWeb Stats

web stats
Stats let you know where your visitors
are coming from, what they're searching
for, and what they're most interested
in finding on your Web site.

Web stats are the key to making your Internet business or blog a success — and a reality check if you are not doing as well as you expected with bringing people to your site or getting visitors to stay. A visitor who doesn't care about what you have to say or want to buy what you are selling is not helping your site to grow. You can't improve your site without finding out what's right and wrong with what you are doing...

Just think of your web stats as a counter that lets you know how many visitors come to your page — with a bit of helpful information to help you find out how to boost that number. SEO optimization is pretty hard to do if you have no idea what people are looking for when they come to your door on the Web.

All web site traffic is not equal. You want to optimize your site to get found by the search engine... but you don't want people who are looking for a place to rent a corporate jet coming to you if you are trying to sell wings --- especially not if you sell buffalo chicken wings! You may use similar keywords, but the end result is very, very different.

What web stats tell you ...

You need to know that the keywords you are using are bringing in the traffic that you want. Keywords that you carefully put together may bring people in, but you may be shocked to learn that most visitors to your site are picking up on some phrase that you never thought about.

A good web stats program will tell you not just how many visitors you get, but where they came from, what they were looking for and whether they found what they wanted when they hit your site. There is much more than that, though.

Why do you need stats?

Your site has a hidden deposit of information. With a good stats program, you can mine that information and turn it into gold. You can find out what time is busy for you and when your site is "sleeping" — so you can figure out how to keep it awake for the whole 24 hours a day that Internet sites are available.

Knowing the pattern of visitors to your site is important if you want to increase traffic. You may find that your focus is so local that no one outside of a three mile radius is finding you. If you're operating an online shop, that means you are missing most of your customers. If you are providing information you are not getting seen by the people you want to talk to.

What do people do when they come to your site?

  • What pages on your site bring in the most traffic? If you know the entry pages, you have a good idea what your site is offering to visitors. Not what you want to offer, but what really attracts people to your site.

  • Do they "bounce" — click right out again? If your bounce rate is high, you need to know so that you can figure out why and fix the problem.

  • If they stay on your site, what are they clicking on? Where are they going? A good stat package can let you know the "paths" that are getting followed through your site. Find out what your visitors are clicking on and you know what to add to get more page views!

  • What pages are big exit pages? Do you have pages that are "leaking" your visitors? Links to other sites are important, but if the first thing someone sees when they hit your site is a link leading out... say good-bye to exploring your site.

These are just a few of the facts that can help you grow your web site... if you know about them.

There are tons of stats programs out there

They range from simple counters to simple stats to enterprise level programs that help big companies find out how to attract more customers. Many good programs are available at no cost to you. The top level stats packages can run into thousand of Euros, Dollars, Pounds or whatever currency you are willing to spend.

While you have to make up your own mind about which stats are most important to you... and which programs do the best job of delivering your data in ways that you can use, many sites focus on overviews of the best programs. Read the reviews and then try the demo. Take the program for a test drive on a few of your pages to see what it does and if it delivers what you expected.

If you run a bigger site, you can choose advanced options for fees that are can be reasonable. When you find the Web stats package that's right for your site, install it, use the data it provides to tweak your site and watch your page views climb...

More about web stats around the web:

Big 'ol List of the Best Website Analytics and Web Stat Tools - A really big list that is focused on "suited to the "everyday" Webmaster.

Choosing the right Web Stats and Traffic Analysis Program for your Websites - Several paid and free analytics programs briefly discussed with more from other posters

Blog Stats Reviews - Stats - Blogs have many things in common with the traditional web site, but for the blogger the little differences are important. Check out a library of posts and articles dealing with stats programs, trends, traffic and related topics.

The ASP Resource Index - site statistics - ASP programs that are rated 1 to 5 stars by users with brief descriptions and user reviews. If you're comfortable with freeware, shareware and low cost developer's scripts you'll be happy here...

Web analytics products - comparison matrix - Great job of comparing five programs - onestat free hit counter, ShinyStat Free, sitemeter basic, Google analytics and e-tracker free as well as the entry (not quite free) level.

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