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Everything eCommerce

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Analyzing Traffic - Your Online Success is within Log Files - Part 2

In part 2 of the analysis of your ecommerce site's log files we will look at referrers and everything that we can gather from them.

A small sample of what we can find out includes the answers to these questions.
  • What search engines were used to find your ecommerce website?
  • What keywords used on those search engines ?
  • How many of your visitors bookmarked your website?
  • What affiliates are driving the most traffic to your site ?
  • What other sites are linking to your website?
  • What is the effectiveness of your offline marketing?

What search engines were used to find your ecommerce website and what keywords were used?

Within your webserver's log files is referrer information that looks like this:
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-51,GGLD:en&q=everything%20ecommerce

This tells us that someone typed into the Google Toolbar (navclient) the phrase everything ecommerce. Most statistics programs will group this information together so that you can see that your site had 300 visits from Google using the keywords "widgit".

How many of your visitors bookmarked your website?

When someone clicks on a bookmark it can show up in the referrs a couple of different ways depending on how the visitor manages their bookmark. Some visitors choose to use an external bookmarking site like Del.Icio.us. Visitors using these bookmarks will show del.icio.us within the referrer area. Another common referer seen is My Bookmarks. This is seen when someone clicks on the bookmarks within their browser.

What affiliates are driving the most traffic to your site ?

If you list referrers in order of most visits, you will have then begin to see what affiliate sites are sending the most traffic to your site, and which ones are sending the least. This information is different then the number of sales that an affiliate is producing for you. You may have some sites that send lots of unquallified traffic to your site that results in very low conversion rates. You may also have an affiliate who sends only a small fraction of that traffic but because their audience are people interested in your product, those visitors are much more likely to become customers.

What other sites are linking to your website?

This is one of the most facinating things. You may discover people talking about your site in blogs, industry journals and other websites. Without analyzing your referrer information, you may never discover that these sites are sending traffic your way. Each one of these incoming links is a little piece of treasure that increases your site's prominence on search engines and expands your company's reach beyond your exisiting marketing. We'll discuss ways of fostering these relationships in future articles.

What is the effectiveness of your offline marketing?

If you are doing a lot of offline marketing you may choose to use a different domain or append a reference number to your URL. These are similar to offer codes that are mentioned on the radio when calling into a call center. For example when sending out a postcard mailer talking about Everything Ecommerce, I may choose to display the URL as http://everything-ecommerce.blogspot.com?id=1. Then I would just need to add up all of the referrers that have id=1 in them to know how many people visited my link from a particular campaign. This is something that you should also be doing with all online advertising so that you can guage the effectiveness of Overture ads versus Google ads and better track your ROI for particular keyword phrases.

I had originally planned to show you what my referrer traffic looks like for Everything Ecommerce. Unfortunatly ReInvigorate.net who I use for websites statistics, has been a little wonky over the last 2 days. I am currently not able to get the information I am looking for, but once it is available I will be posting it here.


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