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Web Host - Statistics

Knowing the who, what, where, and how about your visitors is extremely useful for getting an idea of your user base. More specifically:

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  • Who - By using someone's IP address it is possible to know where a web surfer is geographically located.
  • What - What pages did the surfer view on your web site?
  • Where - Was the surfer referred from another site, search engine? Do they have your site bookmarked?
  • How - How long was the surfer on your site?

All this information and more can be provided to you without troubling your visitor, i.e. no cookies need to be placed onto the visitor's computer to gather this data. With a decent statistics program you will be able to find out how many people have bookmarked your site, how long the average visit is, what are your site's most popular pages.

Stastistic Terminology

There is not much use to a detailed traffic analysis report if the terms mentioned are not understood by the reader. Below we have a glossary of web statistic vocabulary to make your web analysis reports more informative:

  • Uniques/Unique Visits - The number of unique visitors you had for the given time period. Example: if there was only a single person who visited your web site, and visited 1,000 seperate times in a day, the unique visits would just be one. The uniqueness is dependent on the IP address of the visitor.
  • Visits - The total visits, ignoring uniqueness, that a web site recieves in a given time period. Using the same example as above, the total visits would be 1,000 for the day.
  • Page Views - Each time a web page is loaded it is referred to as a page view.
  • Hits - Every server request is counted as a hit, so if you have a web page with 15 images, then there will be multiple(15+) hits per page view.
  • Direct Address & Bookmarks - This amount refers to the people who accessed your web site through their bookmarks or typed in your URL manually.
  • Referrer & Referral URL - The web address where the visitor followed a link to reach your web site. This is a great way to find web sites that have linked to your content!

Popular Statistics Programs

There are many reliable statistics programs available, ranging from the most basic to a complete suite geared towards businesses. Below is a list of popular statistic programs that meet various needs.

  • Webalizer - It is one of the most basic of the statistic programs available, yet it is fully functional. Graphical and numerical data is displayed for monthly, daily, and hourly time spans. Additionally, you can keep track of your top referrers and the popular search terms that lead people to your site.
  • AWStats - AWStats improves on Webalizer by adding additional features coupled with a more professional interface. Added featres: track unique visitors, improved search engine monitoring, visit duration, and more. AWStats is one of the best free statistics program available.
  • Urchin - Urchin proves a comprehensive web analytic suite for those who need the most detailed information about web site traffic and visitor behavior. Such detailed information comes at a steep price (a license approaches the $1,000 mark) that makes this product aimed at companies and individuals with a substantial budget.
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