What is a Website Analytics Program?
Web servers (like Apache, IIS, etc.) record all their transactions
in a log file. Information from these log files can provide an indication
of the popularity of the website. A Website Analytics is a software
program that parses these server log files and generates reports from
this parsed data. The reports indicate who, when and how a web site
Why should you use a Website Analytics Program?
A Website Analytics Program can help you improve your ROI on your website.
Marketing departments of any organization that owns a website should
be trained to understand these powerful tools. Efficient web site administration,
adequate hosting resources and the fine tuning of sales efforts can
be aided by analysis of the web server log files.
Which type of Website Analytics?
There are two basic types of Website Analyticss:
- Static Reporting ("canned reports") - Most Website Analytics
fall into this category. The log files are parsed and all the reports
are generated afterwards. The whole process can be done on demand
or on a scheduled basis. This type of analyzer can put great strain
on a computer as the parsing and reporting are done in one go. This
is usually done during a quiet period and the reports are often
more than a couple of hours old. SurfStats Website Analytics
(previously SurfStats Website Analytics) uses this type of technology.
- Real-time, on-demand Reporting (sometimes called "Live
reporting") - The log files are continuously parsed to a database
in the background. A report is only generated when requested. This
type of Website Analytics is more suited for many websites on a server
(like in a web hosting environment) as it places less strain on
a server. SurfStatsLive uses this type of technology.
Logfile Analysis or Page Tagging?
There are two main approaches to collecting web analytics data. SurfStats
can handle both types of log files.
- Direct Logfile Analysis - The web server logfiles on
which the website is hosted is analyzed. The main advantages of
Logfile Analysis over Page Tagging are as follows.
* The web server normally already produces logfiles, so the raw
data is already available. To collect data via page tagging requires
Javscript to be inserted into every page that you want to track.
* The web server reliably records every transaction it makes. Page
tagging relies on the visitors' browsers co-operating, which a certain
* The data is on the company's own servers, and is in a standard,
rather than a proprietary, format. This makes it easy for a company
to switch programs later, use several different programs, and analyze
historical data with a new program. Page tagging solutions involve
* Logfiles contain information on visits from search engine spiders.
Although these should not be reported as part of the human activity,
it is important data for performing search engine optimization.
* Logfiles contain information on failed requests; page tagging
only records an event if the page is successfully viewed.
third-party's server log files.
* Hits to media or graphic files are recorded in the server log
files. It is difficult to generate the information on third-party
server log files.
a hit on a third-party server. This hit records the visitor and
page information in a log file on the third-party server. The log
file on the third-party site is then analyzed. Google Analytics
provides such a service. The main advantages of Page Tagging over
Logfile Analysis are as follows.
Thus there are fewer worries about caching.
which can then be collected by the remote server. For example, information
about the visitors' screen sizes, or the price of the goods they
purchased, can be added in this way. With logfile analysis, information
not normally collected by the web server can only be recorded by
modifying the URL.
* Page tagging can report on events which do not involve a request
to the web server, such as interactions within Flash movies.
* The page tagging service manages the process of assigning cookies
to visitors; with logfile analysis, the server has to be configured
to do this.
* Page tagging is available to companies who do not run their own
* Very busy websites can be tracked with page tagging as less information
is recorded in the third-party server log files than with Direct
log file Analysis.
You can download Free functional trials of SurfStats Website Analyticss
from the download page