How To Choose the Right Hosting Company
Logfile Access

by Richard Zwicky

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 6),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


Part 1 Log File Access.
With so many hosting companies on the market - over 5000 under various guises in North America alone, how do you choose the right one for your needs? A lot depends on what you want to do. If you are just starting off and are an independent operation, most hosting companies and ISP's will offer complete solution spaces, 200 MB hard drive space, 2-3 GB transfers per month, 1 Email account, with up to 5 aliases, some provide FTP access, and some provide stats. Stats are statistics and means you have access to your log files.

If your provider doesn't offer you log file access, you'll probably want to find one that does, otherwise you may never know what your customer really looked for when browsing through your site. It's great to have a clothing store on-line, but if everyone who visits is looking for a product or color you don't carry, what good are they? With proper log file access, and the right tools, you can maximize your customer satisfaction by reviewing what they are looking for once they visit your site.

Log file access allows you to run statistical analysis services or software through your site. This means you can track the origin point where your customers are coming from, at what time of day they visited, what they did when they visited, how many of them visited, how many pages they looked at and more. How valuable is this data? It let's you know who your customers are, why they visit your site, and (if you analyze it correctly) where to put your marketing efforts.

Do you know if customers visiting your site are looking for a blue sweater, when all you have is black? You will know with proper log file analysis/statistics tools. At Metamend we offer a stats package. It's superior to many others on the market, but if you need even more details, we suggest a full blown system, like WebTrends or WebTrends Live solutions.

These systems give extremely detailed information about your customers. Who bought? Who didn't- Their average purchase, what they were looking for, what they found, and what they didn't find. This type of data allows you to improve your business, by somewhat subliminally collecting customer information. Every visitor to your site contributes to the data. Analyzing this data properly helps your business grow more and more successful. So you may want to quiz your hosting company or ISP to ensure they can provide access to your log files. Let the stats begin!

Next issue: Part II. FTP access and why you need it.

Other articles from this issue:
- Marketing Your Website - Targeting Customers Part 2
- "Light" Graphics
- Batten Down The Hatches

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