DOMAIN

Here's something you may never have thought of before:
If I were to type your domain name

http://www.yourdomain.com

into my web browser without the "WWW" so it looked like this

http://yourdomain.com

would I be immediately sent to your site or would l receive a "Page Not Found" error.

Don't be too quick to answer. Think about it. Have you tried this before?

Because while most Web hosts and Internet Service Providers (ISP's) are now set up to accept both - some are not! Which means visitors who drop the "WWW" and simply type "yourdomain.com" into their browsers may be getting an error message.


You may be losing valuable traffic!

If you try this and find that "yourdomain.com" doesn't work, contact your Web host or ISP and request that they make the necessary changes.

It's a quick 5-minute fix for them and everyone they service will benefit.

Some may try to charge you a fee for this change, but I would argue that this is a common service provided by the majority of ISP's and Web hosts today. If they want to remain competitive and keep your business, then you shouldn't have to pay.

However, if they still insist on charging you, and the fee is minimal, then you should pay it. After all, you're probably losing valuable traffic that will more than pay for this expense in the long run.

Your other option is to consider switching to a Web host who offers this feature

It's such a minor problem but it could be losing you major traffic! So check into this today!

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LEARNING TO READ YOUR WEB SITE STATISTICS

WARNING :  In order to analyze and understand your logs, you need a basic understanding of the *lingo* used so next I'm going to explain the difference between:

•  Hits

•  Pageviews

•  Clickthroughs

•  Unique Visitors

•  Interactive Visitors

 

This is extremely important!  I often hear people bragging that their web site gets millions of hits every week thinking this means that their site receives millions of visitors every week.  This is totally wrong and I'll explain why

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HITS :

During your web travels, you've probably noticed that some web sites post 'Hit counters' at the bottom of their homepage.  They'll say something like, '7,654,7982 visitors since January 3, 2000 .' 

It sounds impressive, right? Well, don't be fooled! 

A 'Hit counter' does not actually count visitors!  Instead, it records the number of times *each file* that makes up a particular web page has been requested from your web host's server.

For example,

Let's say your homepage is made up of 29 files, the HTML document and 28 graphic, logo, button, and banner files.

When a visitor clicks to your site, their browser will request each of the 29 files that make up your homepage separately !   Each individual request that a web browser makes for a file is counted as a 'Hit' so one visit would be recorded as 29 hits. 

Hits are the requests made by web browsers for each individual file that makes up a web page (the HTML file, graphic files, plug-ins, scripts, text files, style sheets, etc...), which means that one visit can be recorded as multiple hits!

So 'Hits' are not an accurate reflection of the traffic a web site gets. 

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PAGEVIEWS

Pageviews basically count the number of times the HTML file for your web page is requested from your web server.

The key difference between Hits and Pageviews is that Pageviews only count the number of times the HTML file is requested while Hits count ALL files requested!  

However, while Pageviews are way more useful for counting visitors than Hits, you should know that this isn't 100% accurate either! 

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CLICKTHROUGHS

Clickthroughs are the number of times an online advertisement is clicked on by visitors, who are then taken to the advertiser's web page. 

For example, let's say that you have paid to post a banner on another web site.  A visitor sees your banner and clicks through it to your site -- this is counted as a 'clickthrough'.

By measuring clickthroughs, you can figure out how much traffic a particular advertisement is generating.

Keep in mind, however, that 'clickthroughs' are limiting because they don't tell you about the quality of these visitors or their activities.

If you were only measuring 'clickthroughs', you might be excited to see that your banner ad on a particular site was bringing you 45 visitors everyday.  

You'd have no way of knowing that the visitors who clickthrough from that site never buy anything.  You'd be wasting your hard-earned advertising dollars and wouldn't even know it! 

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UNIQUE VISITORS :

This is the most important measure of web site traffic HANDS DOWN !

Unique visitors are tracked by their IP address (or Internet Protocol address), rather than by files requested from the web server.  IP addresses are much like online fingerprints making them one of the most accurate ways to track visitors.

Be warned, however, that a single IP address may not always reflect a single and truly "unique" visitor!

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INTERACTIVE VISITORS :

This is a relatively new way of analyzing who your visitors are, where they're coming from, and how they're interacting with your web site.  You are not just looking at the quantity of traffic your site receives you're looking at the quality of visitors as well.

Interactive Visitors measures such things as:

•  How long visitors are staying at your site

•  How many visitors are making a purchase

•  How many are repeat visitors

•  Which web sites visitors are being referred from

  giving you critical info rmation about visitors' likes, dislikes, and behavior at your web site.  This is the exact info rmation you need to improve your web site and start capturing more sales!

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WHERE DO I GET THIS KIND OF INFORMATION ?

Your web host should be able to provide you with your server logs. Many hosts will give them to you as part of your hosting fee, while others will charge you for them. (This is one of the questions I suggest you ask when choosing your web host.) You could also see those by yourself if your hosting package includes a Cpanel (control panel).

So first of all, you need to ask your web host for your server logs. They will stick these in a file at your site and you can download the info rmation via FTP.  

In many cases, what you are going to get is raw log data -- piles of numbers and symbols that are almost impossible to interpret!

Some web hosts already have log analysis software, which makes things really easy.  They will import your server logs into their database and magically turn all the numbers into easy-to-read reports, graphs, and charts.

You can then simply download these reports and work with the info offline or sometimes you can even view it online. Again, be sure to ask your web host if they offer these services.

In VITAL LINKS we do offer these analytical data as part of our client's hosting fee and we do provide you with the necessary charts and graphs.

If your web host doesn't offer log analysis, you may need to purchase the software yourself.  There are dozens and dozens of log analyzing programs out there, ranging in price from free to some hundred thousand of drachmas or thousands of dollars.

( IMPORTANT NOTE : The price does not always reflect the power of the program, the usefulness of the features, or the kinds of reports that it makes available to you!)

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