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Measuring Web Traffic: The Basics

The popularity of your website is measured by the number of times your website has been visited, which is known as simply enough, visits. As soon as someone visits your website the ‘visit’ is automatically recorded in the server’s log file. A log file processes the request for a particular file, including the date, time and size of the file. It also gives information about the originators’ site and his specific web page. If the visitor has been registered, the identity of the person can also be identified.

A log file is helpful in analyzing and checking error codes of the type “404 URL Not Found,” and identifying those pages which are causing problems. Some sophisticated softwares can track all the activities of your website and provide you with the domain name of the visitors. It provides an accurate measurement of the traffic of your website. You can found out more on log file analyzers.

Like most webmasters, you probably don’t have your own web server and have your hosting done by a web hosting provider. You may be interested in “500 Server Errors,” which indicate equipment or software errors denying access to your desired pages. The web hosting provider is supposed to provide direct access to the log file and summary of all the activities on your website. Most web hosting providers these days provide information on more than just the number of visits only. They provide comprehensive analysis to see how visitors come to your site and what they are possibly looking for.

Why should the measurement of traffic be important? It is important because every visit provides you information about which page was visited most and which page was seen the least, what keywords or phrases were being used, which search engine was used to visit the site, how was the site navigated, which site was sending URL messages and to which country the visitor belongs and so on. By collecting this data a picture emerges, which guides you to improve the contents of your website, formulate strategy to increase your business and income, and at the same time lowering the overall costs. It also helps in knowing what are the bottlenecks and drawbacks in the navigation of the website.

Regular analysis of the website will spring many surprises. You will be surprised that only few search engines are sending information to you and only few pages are attracting the attention of the visitors. Develop strategies to improve transparency of the website. Use of Meta tags help in accurately listing your website on the search engine.

2 Comments

Tony Russel  on September 15th, 2009

This is a good tip. My first website was generating 404 errors for over a month and didn’t realize it thinking that once a webpage is up there is nothing to worry about. How wrong I was.

Don’t neglect to review the logs.

Kyle Lalaina  on September 17th, 2009

I would recommend awstats for tracking web stats. Very easy to read and understand interface for stats. Best of all it’s free.

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