Web Site Logs vs. A Hit Counter

If you have a web site you are, no doubt, interested in knowing just how much traffic your site gets. Many people like the visibility of a hit counter so they can just go to their site and see how much that little number has gone up since the last time they checked.   However, this option provides minimal information to determine how well your site is really performing.

If you are serious about the success of your web site, you need to know much more than just how many ‘hits’ your site is getting. You want to know where your visitors are coming from, what pages they are viewing, how long they are staying at the site, if they are visiting for the first time or are a repeat visitor. If you are running a sales campaign you want to know how well that campaign is working for you. A hit counter will not provide that information, BUT web site logs will.

At a minimum you want to know:

  • How much traffic your site is getting, whether it is increasing or decreasing
  • What search engines are bringing traffic to your site
  • What other site may be referring your site through links
  • What search terms are visitors using to find your site
  • How long are visitors staying at your site
  • What pages are visitors viewing

This information is valuable to the business owner who is serious about the success of their web site.

Most hosting providers provide raw traffic logs, but you need a software program that will put that information into a readable format, which can be fairly expensive. Other alternatives are also available. You can find free, or inexpensive, log analyzers on the web. Usually, these services require that you place a visible button on your web site and, in many cases anyone viewing your site can click on the button and go straight to your logs! I feel that your site traffic is no one else’s business but yours.

The information provided by these services varies. Some are very basic, providing only data from the time the software started tracking the site to the present. Others will allow you to view results from selected time frames.

So, bag that counter and get serious. Check with your hosting provider to see if site logs are included or available in the hosting package.  If logs are not available, here are some resources for log tracking services:

www.thecounter.com  – free and pay-for version
www.extremetracking.com – free and pay-for version

www.webtrendslive.com – pay-for only (a bit spendy)

For more information about log tracking or if you don’t have time to analyze your logs yourself, contact Clearwater Web Solutions. We are happy to assist you.

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Pam Jones specializes in offering quality information and services that will keep you on the right track with your online marketing to help you increase your profits. Visit the Internet Marketing Resource Center at http://www.i-m-r-c.com, for tips, tools, resources and helpful articles. Or find out about web hosting, website design or redesign, domain name research & registration, online marketing & promotion and website maintenance services at affordable prices for small to medium sized businesses at Clearwater Web Solutions at http://www.clearwaterwebsolutions.com.


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