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Web Log Analysis
Web Log Analysis
By Sharon Housley
Everyone who understands Internet Marketing
will tell you to analyze your web logs... but what does
that really mean? What particular things should you
pay attention to when analyzing your web logs?
Errors - Page Not Found
How many visitors to your site experience
an incorrect or invalid URL? Perhaps you have links
on your website to a page that no longer exists. Reviewing
the number of "page not found" listings in your web
logs will help discern if you have any pages that are
not accessible to your visitors. If that is the case,
you can then either replace the missing page, or implement
a system to automatically redirect the visitor to an
appropriate alternate page.
Where is your traffic coming from? Reviewing
the sources of web traffic allows you to assess what
advertising campaigns have resulted in increased web
Top Exit Pages
Where are you losing your traffic? Are
there specific pages on the website that bleed traffic?
This means that, for whatever reason, website visitors
choose to leave your website after viewing a specific
page. Evaluating which pages lead visitors to leave
your site might mean that the content you are providing
is not what the visitor expected. Perhaps small changes
can be made to specific webpages to capture traffic
and retain the website visitor's interest.
Top Incoming Pages
What pages are bringing visitors into
your website? Perhaps you have a webpage buried deep
within your site that unexpectedly generates a significant
amount of traffic. Perhaps you have an obscure page
in your site that contains odd or unusual phrases that
perform surprisingly well in the search engines. Can
the results be reproduced by using a related phrase
on a similar webpage?
Top Search Words & Phrases
What keywords and phrases are customers
using to find your website? The keywords that do not
appear prevalent in the web logs can be just as important.
Are there specific phrases you are attempting to optimize
for, but are not generating the desired traffic? Perhaps
renewed effort needs to be applied to website optimization.
How many unique visitors does your website
receive? Is the trend increasing or decreasing? The
number of unique visitors (note: not the number of hits)
can be a good indicator of a website's popularity, and
any trends that might relate to that popularity.
Average Time Spent And Page Views
How much time is spent on the website?
How much time is spent on a specific webpage? Webmasters
will often attract traffic by using catchy titles, but
then the actual page content fails to deliver, and the
website visitor ends up simply clicking away. Take a
close look at the length of time your website visitors
spend across a website and on specific pages. Consider
what tweaks can be made to better harness and retain
that web traffic.
Evaluating the various web browsers being
used by your website visitors can tell you two things
- what browsers you should be testing your website in,
AND, what Operating System your customers have. Are
you getting a lot of Mac traffic but only offer a windows
product? Maybe you can partner with a competing Mac
product and capture some of that market.
Country of Origin
The country of origin might be helpful
if you are considering localization. It can also be
helpful if you see a lot of PPC (Pay Per Click) traffic
coming from a country that does not generate a lot sales.
This means you are paying for traffic which is NOT resulting
Log analysis is an ongoing process. Pay
particular attention to trends and traffic patterns.
Understanding web logs will give you an insight into
what is working and what is not working. The numbers
seldom lie -- statistics gleaned from web logs can give
a true picture of how a website is performing. By critically
analyzing the numbers, webmasters can effectively optimize
their website to better capture and hold on to web traffic.
While the information contained in web
logs is very helpful in discern what designs are working,
and what path users take in your website, keep in mind
that the MOST important information to evaluate is the
traffic that results in sales. Work with your order
processing company to determine what keywords and advertisements
lead to sales. The goal of any advertising campaign
is not to just bring web traffic, but to bring web traffic
that ultimately decides to buy your product or service.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
audio recording and editing software.
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