How Web Hosting Monitoring Tools Help You Understand Your Customers
, , , , Jun 22, 2012

How Web Hosting Monitoring Tools Help You Understand Your Customers

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What is the most important component needed to run a business online? Some webmasters look for powerful web hosting services to process requests fast. Others prioritize dependable uptime to make content available at all times. However, even the best web hosting plan in the world is useless without the most important component of all: visitors. Above everything else, finding success online is about delivering a service that suits your audience. From static content that describes your organization to ecommerce and social features, every element of your website should be optimized for your customers. The companies that dominate the Internet do so because they understand their visitors and tailor their content to meet visitors’ demands. This article from experienced web hosting provider JaguarPC looks at the importance of understanding your customers. You will learn what kind of information is collected whenever a visitor navigates to your website, and how this information can be used to plan your online strategy. You will also learn more about the website log analysis tools that make it quicker and easier to target your content for the people who matter most. Web server logs track how your web hosting service is used Whenever your web hosting plan is asked to perform a task, its web server software makes a record of the request. Each of these requests is compiled into a single – and usually, very large – web server log file. – A log file contains almost everything you could ever want to know about your visitors. A few standard pieces of information that can be found within a single line of your hosting log include: – Who is accessing your website? This is an IP address that identifies the visitor. – Which piece of content has your visitor downloaded? This includes everything from HTML pages to images and other media. – When was the request for this data made? This includes the time and date as they are on the server hardware. – Where did the visitor come from? This referral URL tells you the last page the visitor saw before they came to your website. – Did the data request work? A status code of “200” indicates that the visitor successfully received data, while other codes, such as “404 (Page Not Found),” indicate problems with your web presence. The logs that come as standard with any web hosting plan are a fantastic source of insights into your audience. Unfortunately, these logs are not always easy to decipher. Multiple users may overlap within the log file; individual data requests may only represent one single page view; and logs are not always ordered in a logical, chronological fashion. Website log analysis tools offer web hosting insights at-a-glance Although every webmaster could benefit from analyzing the data held within web server log files, doing so can be a time-consuming process. What webmasters need is a simple, easy-to-understand representation of the data on their web hosting logs, giving them a stress-free snapshot of their visitors. Fortunately, a number of software solutions take data from web hosting service logs and make this information easier to digest. Some of the most popular solutions include AWStats, Analog, and Webalizer. These applications offer an overview of your entire web presence and how it is being used. A log analyzer can count your visitors, distinguish repeat visitors from new and unique ones, and tell you where the majority of your visitors are coming from. This data can be used to analyze the success of your online marketing, spotting which sources of traffic and external website links are most successful. In addition, website log analysis tools provide you with specific, highly accurate data about individual users. By intelligently analyzing the content of your log file, it is possible to determine how users move through your content, follow links to individual pages, and download files. Tools can even quickly tell you which page of your website a user saw first, and which page they last opened before they decided to leave. This makes it possible to understand the flow of traffic across every section of your web presence and take action where appropriate. For example, what if a large number of your visitors leave your site after opening a certain page? With this information in mind, you could re-evaluate this content to make it more informative and attractive to your visitors. Use monitoring to improve the search engine success of your web hosting In addition to helping you understand the behavior of your visitors, web log analyzers also make it easier to understand the behavior of search engine crawlers. In order to evaluate your website and position you within search results, a search engine crawler automatically navigates the Internet to explore all available content. Search engine crawlers use a wide variety of criteria to analyze a website, some of which are proprietary secrets that remain largely unknown. However, one of the most fundamental ways to improve your search engine rank is to help crawlers find your informative, interesting, and relevant content. Using a log file analyzer, you can see when a search engine crawler last visited your web presence, and how it followed your hyperlinks to browse your content. You may be able to identify those occasions when crawlers failed to find the content you have created that will help improve your page rank. Finally, a log analysis tool can track the keywords and key phrases visitors used to find your web presence. This allows you to instantly see which keywords are most successful for your organization, and where your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts should be focused. AWStats, Webalizer, and Analog give you the opportunity to see your website as your visitors do. With an insight into how your content is being used, you can design a content and marketing strategy that will take your web presence to new successes. Web hosting services with free log analysis tools from JaguarPC To help customers unlock the potential of their web hosting plan and make intelligent, informed decisions about their strategy, JaguarPC offers a suite of free website log analysis tools with every single plan. Whether you use shared web hosting, virtual private server hosting (VPS hosting), dedicated server hosting, or a hybrid hosting plan, JaguarPC provides access to AWStats, Webalizer, and Analog. This means that using whichever tool you prefer, you can view usage information at-a-glance with tabular data, graphs, and reports. Alternatively, JaguarPC offers direct access to your web server logs for use with your own analysis tool or desktop software. For more information on web hosting plans and the web log analysis tools available from JaguarPC, call 1-888-338-5261 or visit jaguarpc.com.
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