Now a days, most of the commercial institutions have their own website which are used in several ways. Some of the commercial websites perform the role of product featuring, order placement and share company information and other details with potential customers. On the other hand some companies run on commercial websites by providing different services to the customers through their websites (eg. yahoo, msn, bdjobs etc). Even personal sites can be a source of revenue earning for individuals ( implementation of google adsense, yahoo publishers, msn AdCenter). Therefore it is very important for any website publisher to understand the usability, visitor characteristics and effectiveness of different sections of their websites.
Web Analytics is the study of the usability or effectiveness of a website. It actually deals with the data collected from a website to determine which aspects of the website work towards the business objectives. Data collected almost always includes web traffic reports. It may also include e-mail response rates, direct mail campaign data, sales and lead information, user performance data such as click heat mapping, or other custom metrics as needed.
There are two main ways in which web analytics data can be collected:
- Log file analysis
- Page Tagging
Log File Analysis:
The web servers has some application software where information for the hosted websites are stored. For example, linux servers have cPanel and windows servers have Plesk control panels where there are tools for analyzing website traffic, bandwidth transfer, landing pages, referral pages, requested files and etc etc. This reports can be collected in daily basis or even monthly basis to analyze the visitors, most viewed sections/files/forlders/sub domains, emails, unique visitors, visitor’s IP addresses, geographical location of the visitors and even errors occurred during browsing.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both the methods but both are equally important and are used in different web analytics processes depending upon necessity. Even there are some web analytics program which implements both the methods together as a hybrid method. There is another method which are not widely used now a days which integrates the web analytics program into the web server, and collecting data by sniffing the network traffic passing between the web server and the outside world.
Web Analytics are often necessary for internet advertising and promotion which involves Search Engine Marketing ( SEM ) and Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ). I hope to write more on the advantages and disadvantages of the Web Analytics methods and try to share something regarding SEO and SEM also.
This article is also available at : http://community.nsuers.com/showthread.php?p=102627#post102627