In many of my previous articles, I have been talking about how you can analyse the data that you have about your customers in order to make better decisions about your users. In this article, I want to look at how you can make use of log file analysis to analyse visitors data that you have on your website. Follow me as we look at this together.
Log file is just like a diary where a record of all users that visitors that visited your website at any given time is been kept. It records all the activities that is been performed by such users on your website.
The information collected in a log file always include the total number of visitors that visited your website, their visit date and the total duration that they stayed on your website as well as their geographical location are recorded in the log file for analysis.
Web log analysis tools are used to analyse the information obtained from the webserver log files.
Log file analysis helps in tracking the visitors’ activity in the form of hit counts such as the number of HTML document that was viewed, the number of clicks on images available on your website, as well the information available on your website which can be found in the log file information.
The good side of it….
The use of raw file analysis is cheaper because most at times it is been done by a third party server. You do not need to do anything before you start using it. This save you a whole lot of cost.
One other benefit of log file analysis is that it has the capability of tracking search engine spider on your website. It can easily report the number of time that Google crawler or any other spider visited your website.
Another beauty of log file analysis server is that it can track the total number of failed request that your website has. When people are not able to access the page that they want to view on your website, humanly speaking, they will be discouraged, if this keep happening, you can be sure that you will also get lashes from Google as well.
Non HTML pages
Another beautiful thing about log file analysis is that it can track non HTML pages such as PDF files. You may want to know the number of people that have downloaded you Brochure or E-Book. It will definitely tell you the number of successful downloads that you have till date.
The bad side of it….
One of the problems with web analytics files and other statistical tool that you can adopt for your website is that they are less accurate in terms of information they present. It may not show you the true picture of what you want to see but something that is very close to it.
One of the other limitations with web analytics file is that it requires the server to attack cookies which Is more of a tag to every information coming in from outside. This at times can create discourage visitors. We have also seen a situation where the European Union and other government have come up with policies that you must disclose to your customers if you are using cookies on your website.
Another issue with web analytics file is that it has to modify URL in order to record information that needed to be recorded on the website. This is not also appropriate at times as we may have distorted information from our own perspective.
One other challenge about the way web analytics file works is that a lot of traffic has to be eliminated in order to record information that are really important to the person that have set up. Some of this sacrificed has to be made so as not to bug down the server.
Some of the sites that can be used for such analysis include:
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