If you don't measure it, you can't improve on it.
While you can do a lot on gut feeling, it often helps to see things from a more objective perspective. And then I am not just talking about getting feedback from a friend or neighbor, or even a professional usability consultant, but also about visitor statistics or Website Analytics.
Visitor statistics can come in the form of raw log files (ask you website host about them) or in ready-to-use statistical programs like Analog, Webalizer or AWStats. These programs show you a number of ready-made options, like the number of visitors, the browser versions that they used, or the keywords they entered in the search engines to find your site.
Website Analytics programs go a step further. Based on the raw log files a Website Analytics program can analyze the data on the fly - based on your own specifications. Want to compare organic versus pay-per-click traffic for a certain page? Or see how succesful certain keywords are, in terms of conversion? By creating labels such as "sent us a request from the contact page" or "completed a purchase" you are able to highlight certain traffic elements and compare them with the rest - showing you exactly what parts of your site work, and which not.
Analytics programs can be expensive, but may earn back their investment pretty quickly if for instance it allows you to reduce your pay-per-click campaign by 50% because it is just not converting...
For more information: contact your webmaster, or email Nardo Kuitert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nardo Kuitert is an Internet Consultant with Fergus Website Development and Optimization firm U-C WEBS (www.u-cwebs.com). U-C WEBS also offers Internet advertising opportunities on www.ferguspages.com.