A website may be many different things to many people, but to the company
selling a product or service online, it is everything. The company's
website is probably their store, brochure, means of contact and the
beating heart at the centre of their sales campaign, all at the same
time. Yet many make the mistake of setting up their website, modifying
and updating it here or there, and then often simply leaving it alone.
If you happen to regularly visit a small, local village shop, where the
nearest competitor is some 20-30 miles away, you'll probably notice that
very little changes with time. But watch what happens if and when a
competitor appears - you're almost certain to see a sudden flurry of
activity, followed by an endless cycle of tweaking, modification,
improvement and expansion. On the internet, your competitors are never
further than a click away. So, what should you do about it?
Your web referral logs are one of the most useful sources of information
that you have access to. Amazingly, many businesses still ignore them
entirely, or spend only the smallest amount of time in giving them an
occasional quick glance.
Most web hosts provide some form of online web statistics, such as Analog
or Webtrends, but while these are certainly quite useful, they often only
provide you with the chance of scratching away at the surface. Many web
hosts are also able to give you access to some form of raw referral logs,
that can then be downloaded and analysed locally.