Who Visits My Site?
Who Visits My Site? That is one of the most common questions webmasters ask and one which is very difficult to answer. There are many ways to find out how many people visit your site but getting information about them is more difficult.
There are two ways to find out more than just your visitor numbers. Some counters like Sitemeter will give you information on your visitors like:
- Number of visitors and pageviews in any time period
- Predicted numbers of visitors and pageviews
- Domain name of visitors (their ISP)
- Visitors' country
- Amount of time visitors spend on site
- Entry page - First page they saw on your site
- Exit page - Last page they saw on your site
- Referring page - The last page visitors were on before yours
- IP Address
Sitemeter give you some code and you need to add it to your site. The code must be placed on each page to get the full information.
Another way to get information like this but also more about what pages your visitors look at, what files are downloaded and download speeds is by using the web server's log files.
A log file is a file which the server keeps which has all this and more information about your web site. It will record every single page, image and script request and will record information about the computer which makes the request, if it was successful and how much data was transferred. Some web hosts will allow you access to these files but many will not. If you want one you will need to see if any offer you 'Raw Logfiles'. Once you have the log file you need to download a program or script which will analyse the file and display the information on the screen. There are many of these which all do different things with the data so the best way to find one is to search for Log File Analysers. Some hosts, though, will automatically generate statistics from your logfiles online.
As you can see it is very difficult to find out who your visitors are and there is only one sure way of finding out. If you create a members only section on your website then you can have a questionare for people to fill in to get access to that section. This will annoy a lot of people though and they won't bother to sign up so even this way is not brilliant.
The best way to get as much information as possible without losing visitors is to get a good counter or analyse your server's log files so you will never really know who visits your site.
1999 - 2003 David Gowans