Site Statistics - What They Should Be Telling You And Probably Aren't

Site statistics are the underlying visitor details of your
site. They can tell you things like: where a visitor came
from, what key phrases people are using to find your site
on search engines, how many visitors have come to your site,
what pages people looked at the most, what pages people
looked at the least and even what web browser people used
to get to your site. It would seem like that is all the
information anyone would ever need to know about a site.
However, virtually all statistical analysis programs are
very difficult to understand, and the data isn't organized
in a very useful manner. While there seems like quite a
bit of information, there is so much more useful information
that is possible to achieve that could give you much more
highly telling results.

For example, with the use of cookies and tying that information
into the raw statistical logs that your server tracks, you
suddenly can watch amazing things. For example, you could
easily watch one user over any period of days or months as they
go and come from your site. You would know exactly what pages
they saw and if and when they bought from your site or signed
up to your newsletter. Affiliate programs and many online
shopping carts are using cookies to keep track of when
a person buys something or makes a certain action. However,
using them in conjunction with server log statistics seems
to be a rarity.

By combining cookies with server logs you would be able to
track every single marketing strategy. You would know if your
pay per click placements turned browsers into buyers or subscribers.
By using different domain names, you would easily be able to
track all of your offline promotions from beginning to end.
Once a person enters your site you would always know exactly
where they came from, when they got there and ultimately if
you should continue marketing the same way you are marketing
now, or if you should try something new.

Having this understanding would change how business is
done online. Every marketing investment, every page created
and the entire flow of a site could easily be tracked and understood.

Additionally, how you market to people would change significantly
for both the site owner and the site visitor. If a person
bought one product you could easily suggest other products
that they would probably like. Amazon has virtually mastered
this feature. This could also work for sites that don't
sell online. If you knew a person enjoyed a certain article
you could easily suggest to them that they read another
article. You could track the exact path people take through
your site and compare that with your most wanted response.
By understanding this information you could easily tweak
your site until this response increased.

However, while the technology is available to do this, most
statistical analysis programs largely do not provide the
information in this format. The technology that enables this
kind of detailed, valuable information is either custom made
for a specific, deep-pocketed company or is just extremely
expensive. The reason this has happened, in my opinion, is
that the average site owner has no idea this information is
available. And if there is no apparent demand the chances of
seeing this kind of analysis tool in the near future in not
likely.


About the Author

Sage Lewis, founder and president of the web site
promotion firm SageRock.com. He has been employed as an Internet
Strategist and design/promotion consultant for 5 years. To
subscribe to SageRock's marketing newsletter, send a blank
message to
mailto:sagerock-subscribe@egroups.com or visit the company's
site at http://www.sagerock.com

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