Track Web Site Visitor Traffic

Ship is safe in harbor
    When you increase search engine traffic, wouldn't it be nice to know where it's coming from? Server administrators use logs for troubleshooting. Marketing people love seeing those logs as well, because they track all sorts of things. Tracking your incoming traffic. If it's search engine traffic, it'll tell what your visitor was searching for.

    Odds are, you won't actually see the log file, but the information is available using other tools. This example should give you the idea.

Visitors Location

    Each visitor address is an exact machine or network, but not likely an exact person. It might be an IP address, or a domain name.

    The real value of knowing your visitor can vary. The fist page visited is the entrance page. Contrary to popular belief, visitors can arrive at your web site through any page on your site, not just the front page. When you list your web page on the search engine, they list all of your pages, not just the first.

    You can track web site visitor traffic by following the name through the logs. Plotting their route and seeing which page is mostly to send them scampering away, can be very valuable information. You may want to make more like them, or tune up the ones that aren't interesting enough.

    If you started an ad campaign in a local newspaper, you can get an idea of whether the ad is working. Maybe you're passing out cards at various networking functions or just changed your yellow page ads. These logs are full of clues to help you tune your marketing machine.

    Quite often, you can pick out visitors from other countries. If they all quit at the same page, you might check to see if something is confusing or maybe even offensive. Different words can have totally different meanings in other parts of the world.

Date and Time

    Date and time seems pretty self-explanatory. You can still see some trends that you might not have thought of. If people spend 5 minutes per page, they are most likely reading it. If they only spend 5 seconds, they are not.

Current Resource

    The current resource is the item your visitor is requesting, either directly or by your page referencing to it. It may show every graphic, cgi, txt or other files your visitor may be requesting.

    The HTML (or htm) files are probably the most useful items for tracking our traffic. Usually, the first page will be called simply (/), also known as the root directory. In this web site, the first page would actually be The "index.htm" page name is generally assumed.

Google Analytics

  Discover how your customers found you, and what they were looking for.

  Just add a snippet of code to each page and find out. Free sign up.

Referring site address

    The referring site address is a very useful marketing tool. It answers the important question, "where do my customers come from?" This tells us what domain is referring our visitors. In the case of Search Engines, it can even tell us what keywords they searched for when they found us! This can help enormously to increase search engine traffic.

    We can also purchase web site traffic by the click through. Since we are paying for each visitor, it would be foolish not to track this traffic.

    Tracking your traffic through server logs may depend on your Internet Service Provider. Each one has different policies about showing you logs of your web site activity. They are not always willing to get these to you. You can use instead.

Track Outgoing Traffic

    People will leave your site. The real question is whether they are clicking on one of your links or just leaving. The log only shows activity when a visitor gets a resource from your site. It does not show activity from the destination site logs. We really only know if we succeed, when we know where our web site visitors are going.

    One very simple way to track outgoing traffic is for the outgoing link to pass through a page on your site. Each outgoing link could have its' own OUTLINK page.

    Normally, the second page would require your visitor to click on another link to keep going. Keep it simple for your visitor. One little HTML goody that we can use is in the META tag section of your web page.

outgoing.htm - Notepad
    <title>Outgoing Link Tracker</title>
    <META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT=0;URL=">

    -- Your favorite Hit Counter Here --


    The HTTP-EQUIV tag allows you to refresh to another page. Note the CONTENT is set to 0. This is the number of seconds to wait before going to the next destination. The next destination is defined by the URL modifier. This usually points to a specific web page.

    If you have a favorite hit counter, include it also. Make sure it uses an appropriate name you can associate with the outgoing link. This way you can see how many people you entice into seeing your vendor. If you use the hit counter, I would suggest adding another page for your site, where you show the hit results without incrementing to see who's getting the clicks and who isn't.

    Once your visitor gets to the vendor site, your vendor is either going to sell them or not. These are different numbers and can help you adjust your strategies. Your vendor keeps these numbers. You can usually pull a report from them.