Site Check – Web Site Advice

Get healthy advice on how to improve your web site and make money with it
Topics covered: Creation, Optimization, Marketing, Maintenance, Hosting, Tuning


If you want to know who’s visiting your web site and which pages they look at, then you should start looking at your log files or use some of the free visitor tracking services mentioned in this article.

Now that you’ve optimized your site and started the online promotion work, it’s time to measure the results.

The best way to see if there is an increase in visitors is to look at the log files of your site. Your web hosting company should be able to give you access to those files and maybe even run some daily statistics on them.

When you download the log files, you can analyze them on your local computer.

Quest Software provides 2 free tools which you can download to analyze your site and your site statistics. Go to following address and download FunnelWeb Analyzer and FunnelWeb Profiler.

The FunnelWeb Analyzer is a log analysis tool which provides nice graphs and statistics about the usage of your site. See how many visitors you’ve got, how often they return and the number of pages they view.

We’re using FunnelWeb Analyzer Enterprise to run success monitoring reports for our clients. The enterprise version was discontinued a few years back but is still very valuable to us. The current free version offers a little bit less flexibilty.

We combine the data from FunnelWeb with additional data from Analog. This program used to be my favourite log analyzer for many years.

Analog is a very popular log analyzer, but it requires some technical knowledge about log file formats. There are many options which can be set inside Analog and it’s an excellent choice for web sites with huge log files. I processed more than 350 million hits using Analog in half an hour (given enough processor power and enough RAM — in my case, I ran the statistics on an Apple Xserve 3.0 GHz quad-core with 5 GB of RAM).

The FunnelWeb Profiler looks at your web site and lists potential problems. This software is already a bit dated, but provides an interesting view on your site. It might not work on all computers depending on the version of the Java Virtual Machine that is installed on the PC.

If you’d prefer to get near instant statistics, then you should sign up with Google Analytics.

This service gives you a little bit of code which you include in your web site and tells you everything you need to know about your visitors and how they use your site. It will also give you information you don’t find in your log files, such as the screen size your visitors use. This lets you optimize the site design for the kind of users you’ve got.

Using Google Analytics together with Google AdWords provides some additional advantages, as you can see which ads are performing the best for you and if people really click through to the final destination, e.g. if you trying to sell something on your site, you can see if people go through the shopping experience to the end.

Several other log analysis programs are also popular:

A few free services let you compare your site to competitors and see how you are ranked on major search engines. I use the following tools very often to see how my sites stack up to other sites and how I can optimize my online presence:

  • Link Popularity: How many sites link to your site? The more quality sites are linking the higher you are listed on search engines.
  • Keyword Verification: See how your site ranks on major search engines for the keywords you specify.
  • Search Engine Saturation: See how your site compares to competing sites and how many of your pages are indexed by search engines.

URLtrends is a newer service than the tools provided by MarketLeap, however it combines much of the information also available on MarketLeap in addition to providing nice graphs.

When you monitor your site over time, you will see changes in usage patterns. Sometimes, search engines change their ranking algorithms or there might be other problems. In this case, it’s crucial to have a software that tells you how to improve the structure of your site or how to optimize the site for various search engines.

GRSeo (GRSoftware Search Engine Optimization) analyses your site for problems, gives warnings and notices for many major search engines. This program costs $149.

GRKda (GRSoftware Keyword Density Analyzer) allows you to analyze how often your keywords, product names etc. appear on your pages and suggests how to optimize your pages for better search engine rankings. Only a certain percentage of keywords per page will give you the best results. The cost for this software is $99.

WebPosition Gold is probably the market leader when it comes to advanced web analysis. The Platinum version combines many of the services mentionned in this article but comes at a price of $389.

The key factors of being successful on the web is to optimize your site and take into account the various indexing options from major search engines. Then start promoting your site by getting more links to your site, submitting your content to search engines and maybe even buying commercial advertising options (keywords, listings etc.)

Finally, you should monitor the performance of your site using the log files and your online rankings using various tools and free online services.

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