Getting the Most From Your Log Files

By Charlie Morris (Send Email)
Posted Aug 2, 1999


Every Web site has a different set of goals, but there'' s one thing we all have in common: We want more traffic! Although a sure-fire way to build Web site traffic quickly remains as elusive as a sure-fire way to predict stock prices, there are some tried-and-true methods that can help you build your Web site traffic slowly but surely. Every Web site has a different set of goals, but there's one thing we all have in common: We want more traffic! Although a sure-fire way to build Web site traffic quickly remains as elusive as a sure-fire way to predict stock prices, there are some tried-and-true methods that can help you build your Web site traffic slowly but surely. The ambitious site owner will use various promotional tactics on an ongoing basis, but this article is not about any one traffic-building technique.

The ambitious site owner will use various promotional tacti cs on an ongoing basis, but this article is not about any one traffic-building technique. It''s about using your We b server log files to direct your efforts and measure your success. You don''t have time to do everything, so you n eed to figure out what works, and spend your time accordingly. Careful analysis of the information in your log file s can give you lots of promising traffic-building ideas, and also help you measure which ones live up to their prom ise.

There are as many different reasons for having a Web site as there a re businesses or individuals, and every site has a different set of goals. There''s one thing we all have in common , however: We want more traffic! If you''re selling products online, then more traffic means more potential custome rs. If you''re advertising a product or service, more traffic means more people get your message. If you''re runnin g an ad-supported site, then more traffic means more page \ impressions, and more money in your pocket.

If I ha d some sure-fire way to build Web site traffic quickly, I''d be fabulously well-to-do, just as I would if I had a s ure-fire way to predict stock prices. There are some tried-and-true methods, however, and while they can''t create instant success, if applied diligently over time, they''ll help you build your Web site traffic slowly but surely.

  • Submit your site to the search engines and directories, re-submitting periodically.
  • Study how the search engines work, and tweak your site to try t o maximize your search rankings.
  • Solicit links from related sites.
  • Run ads on appropriate Web sites and m ailing lists. These may be paid ads, or banner swaps with related sites. Automated banner exchange programs like LinkExchange and HyperBanner are also us eful.
  • Build a database of press contacts, and send out press releases about newsworthy events concerning your company or your site.
  • Participate in discussion groups and mailing lists that are relevant to your business, a nd discreetly plug your site and yourself.
  • Constantly develop good new content. This is the only sure way to g row traffic in the long run, but it also happens to be a lot of work.

The ambitious site owner will use all of these tactics on an ongoing basis, but this article is not about any one traffic-building technique. It' 's about using your Web server log files to direct your efforts and measure your success. A good marketer can alway s think of lots of things to do to promote a site, far more than could ever be accomplished with the time and money available. You can''t do everything, so you need to figure out exactly what works, and direct your efforts to the most effective tactics. Careful analysis of the information in your log files can give you lots of promising traffi c-building ideas, and also help you measure which ones live up to their promise.

Contents:

How Log Files Work
Mining that Data< BR> Insights from your Error Logs
Where are they coming from?
Who''s sending them?

How Log Files Work

, an internet.com Web site.

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