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Author: Tim Murray | Website:

Server logs

We have already seen some of the reasons why people tend to skip our intros. Don't believe me? Check out your server logs and see how many times your intro.swf file downloads completely, and compare that to the number of times you have incomplete transfers of intro.swf (or whatever your intro is called). And if they are skipping your intros, you are probably annoying your site visitors (or worse still: your client's visitors).

What? You don't have access to your client's server logs? Our advice is to sign whatever confidentiality agreements you have to to get access to this invaluable resource. It will help you to optimise the work you deliver. The logs will:

  • Enable you to see how visitors are using your sites.
  • Make sure that the marketing aims of the site are being met.
  • Let you fine tune the traffic flow through your site, supporting the business goals of your clients.
  • Establish popular resources within the site so you may develop more of that media or redevelop some of the weaker content of the site.
  • Know how visitors are finding your sites.
  • Find out who is linking to your sites.

Armed with this information, you are able to deliver premium content and advice for your clients (especially if you have a SEO clause in your contract). And in this case it may even let you know that you are annoying every new visitor to your site with an intro movie.

We have developed some custom Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Access databases to make analysing server logs quick and easy. The Excel templates contain scripts to import and tidy up the raw log files which we then transfer to our Access databases. With each database we can write any custom queries we like to review the log files. This gives us (and our clients) an opportunity to ask any questions concerning what people are doing on our sites, where is our traffic coming from, what areas are the most popular, how effective a particular promotional campaign is, or anything else that interests us. The cost to us was that we had to learn Microsoft Office scripting, spreadsheet and relational database skills. It's really been worth the effort, though!

» Level Intermediate

Added: 2004-01-08
Rating: 8 Votes: 15
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Tim is a co-director of the Glasson Murray Group, providing quality graphic design, illustration, 3D visualisation, interactive environments, virtual reality, multimedia and website services.
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