Specialists in Internet Web Sites Since 1995
Online Marketing for Book and Publishing Web Sites:
Step 4, Tracking Traffic
© 2001 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.
are marketing a site, our first goal is to increase the qualified traffic to
the site. That is, we want to attract visitors who might be interested in our
books. When the site is attracting the right visitors, and attracting those
visitors in increasing numbers, then we are increasing the likelihood of
selling our books to our target market.
So we want to keep our Web site traffic increasing from month to month. To
determine whether the traffic is increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable,
we must monitor the traffic on the Web site.
How Do We Measure Traffic?
Many Web hosting companies offer free traffic analysis software with each
site. Some of this free traffic analysis software is very good, so you should
start there. For example, the Web host we use for http://www.spawn.org offers
excellent software. We can use it to easily track the number of hits per day,
number of hits in a two-week period, most popular pages, and the referring
Obtaining Web Traffic Software Elsewhere
If the site's host does not offer software for reviewing the site logs, we
must install such software, because it's important to track the results of our
marketing efforts. We can download and install the free WebLog software from
http://awsd.com/scripts/weblog/, or we can spend $699 to purchase WebTrends log
Analyzer from http://www.webtrends.com.
Web traffic software tends to be either free or very expensive. In fact
WebTrends is among the least expensive of the Web traffic software programs.
Other packages carry prices that go over $100,000 for more detailed traffic
The simplest way to track the level of Web site traffic is to take the
number of hits from the traffic analysis software and plot the number of hits
per month using Excel or even a pen-and-pencil graph. The number of hits is a
gross measure; it is not the same as number of visitors, but it gives you a
quick overall number so that you can compare the traffic levels from month to
The number of hits is actually the number of files viewed on the site. Since
each page is one file, and each picture on the page is another file, you can
see that one visitor viewing one page with three graphics will be recorded as
four hits by the traffic software.
Webmasters like to know how their visitors arrived at the site. Web traffic
software gives us the list of Referring Pages where we can see how many
visitors typed the address, how many came from Yahoo, how many came from
Google, etc. We can evaluate this list of referrers to help determine our
future marketing. That is, if many people are coming from LookSmart.com,
perhaps an ad at LookSmart would double our number of visitors.
In contrast, if we are receiving no visitors through Excite.com, we should
check to see whether our site is actually listed there and where our site ranks
in the Excite listing.
If we record our Web site traffic on a regular basis, we can see whether our
number of visitors is increasing. When we record our latest online marketing
efforts, our traffic analysis allows us to measure the effectiveness of our
~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect
who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at
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