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Understanding Web Traffic Analysis

8:11 PM Posted by Slamy

When you create a Web site, your hosting service should provide you with a way to track the number of visits each page receives as well as some indication of where they are coming from. This isn’t information for its own sake: you want to be able to analyze and act on the data. By learning about who visits your Web site, how your visitors find you, and what they do while they are browsing through your online presentation, you can tailor your product selection and presentation to better meet their needs.
Traditionally, the practice of Web site traffic analysis is referred to as reviewing the ‘‘log files,’’ the information-packed and techie-looking files that contain computer addresses and Web page URLs. Such information needs to be displayed in the form of a graph or chart to understand it better, and that’s exactly what Analytics does. Typically, you want to look at information over a particular period of time, whether
it is a month, day, or week. You need to pay attention to facts such as:
• Domain Reports—This kind of report tells you which domains your visitors come from.
• Referrer Reports—A ‘‘referrer’’ is the site that referred someone to you—in other words, it’s the site a visitor was visiting just before it came to your site. By tracking referrals you can see which links steer you the most visitors.
• File Type Reports—These sorts of reports tell you what type of files are being accessed by your visitors—they might be images, presentations, PDFs, and so on.
• Browser Reports—These tell you what kinds of browsers your viewers are using so you can tailor your content to particular versions or types if needed.

Often, log file reports present you with a ‘‘Top Ten’’ list of pages visited, files accessed, domains that visit you, countries of origin, and so on. When you’re trying to choose from Analytics’ rich set of reports, you might keep such options in mind so you can present your coworkers and managers with the information they need to make informed decisions about your Web site and what sort of content is contained on it.

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