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Do you know how many visitors your website sees each day? Do you know which pages they view, how they find your site, and how long they stay? If you can’t answer these questions, then you haven’t taken the time to set up the free tools that can easily provide the answers.
Now that your website is online, you will want to pay attention to the number of visitors that access your website, the website that referred them to you, what pages visitors are accessing most frequently, what they do once they land on your website, and any additional visitor statistics you can get your hands on. With this information in hand, you’ll be prepared to focus your time more effectively as you work to boost the usefulness of your site.
There are three major sources of website statistics you should research and learn about: server statistic, software statistics, and analytic’s program statistics. You probably won’t need to become an expert in each source of statistics, but by learning about each you’ll be better prepared to focus on the source that provides the information that is the most useful for you.
Every time a file or directory on the server is accessed, a log entry is made on the server. These log entries will include every single request, including requests made by spiders, the website administrator, and real visitors. Different hosting providers will give hosting customers access to these logs in differents ways. Most hosting providers will let you see the raw logs if you care to see that information, and also provide access to applications that analyze the raw data for you, producing graphs and charts that are much easier to understand.
Every time a file or directory on the server is accessed, a log entry is made on the server.
Some of the most popular applications used to analyze server log statistics are Webalizer, AWStats, and Piwik. Some hosts also have their own proprietary tools which you should also take a look at. Regardless of the programs the host provides, you’ll access them by logging into your hosting account control panel, and navigating to the statistics links provided by your host.
Server statistics are particularly useful if you need to identify troublesome IP addresses. If your site is ever under a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, or if you suspect that someone is trying to gain unauthorized access to the backend of your site by repeatedly guessing login credentials, server statistics will help you identify troublesome IP addresses, which you can then block by using IP blocking tools provided by your host.
Search Engine Statistics Programs
There are three primary sources of statistics: server logs, statistics collected by website software, and search engine analytics.
Google and Bing both offer suites of tools that include statistical analysis programs. These tools are particularly useful if you are placing ads on the search engine result pages of Google, Bing, or Yahoo. If you do place ads with any of these search engines, you should sign up for access to that search engine’s analytics program, so that you can do a better job of tracking the results of your ad campaigns.
Bing’s statistics tools, which include search results from both Yahoo and Bing, work in much the same way as Google’s tools. However, since Google drives more than twice the amount of search engine traffic as Bing and Yahoo combined, most webmasters rely on Google Analytics, unless they place ads with Bing and Yahoo, and not with Google.
The analytics programs provided by Google and Bing provide much more insight into user behavior than server statistics programs. They are the best way to understand the performance of your ad campaigns, which search terms are bringing visitors to your site, which pages those visitors are landing on, and what they’re doing once they land on those pages. In order to avoid being overwhelmed with the information provided by these tools, find free guides online that will help get educated, so that you can make the best use possible of the information you now have access to.
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal combine to command 70% of the total CMS market.
More than 40% of all websites on the web, and the vast majority of all new sites, are powered by a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. If you don’t need the detailed information provided by Google Analytics, but you do want some basic statistics, there are applications you can add-on to the CMS of your choice that will provide limited visitor statistics, without overwhelming you with data. Some of the best statistics add-ons are Jetpack for WordPress websites, the Statistics module for Drupal-powered sites, and the Content Statistics extension for Joomla!
Now that you have a web presence make the most of it by reviewing free statistics provided by your hosting provider, analytics programs, and CMS add-ons. By doing so, you’ll get a better picture of how your website is being used, allowing you to tailor it to your users in order to accomplish the goals you had in mind when you launched your site.