Many remodelers don't realize it, but their Web site hosting company typically can provide up to 120 statistics on each visitor. Business grade hosting packages usually include the reports, says David Alpert, a Great Falls, Va., marketing consultant ( firstname.lastname@example.org). By tracking site trends, such as when visitors come, how long they stay, and what pages they view most, you can boost the effectiveness of your site and corresponding marketing efforts.
Many hosting companies use a program called WebTrends, made by NetIQ Corp. of San Jose, Calif. Alpert says it's one of the higher end products, starting at about $800, so it makes sense to ask your host for reports first.
Bin Wilcenski of the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia in South Carolina, says he uses www.mycomputer.com. It's more affordable (starting at $9.95 per month). You add a code to your site, allowing you to receive basic to more detailed data, based on cost.
Wherever you get statistics, there's key information you'll want to analyze. Page impressions or page view stats, showing how many pages visitors view, allow you to modify unvisited pages or delete them. You can learn what pages people exit quickly -- allowing you to modify "turn-off" pages. You can learn how long visitors stayed, how many pages they downloaded, and how long they viewed each page.
"It's a little bit like archeology, where you have to understand what you're looking at and read between the lines," says Alpert.
Web trend stats also tell which browsers people use. That helps you develop a site most people can view. And learning when people visit can help you measure how effective a direct-mail marketing campaign is at driving prospects to your site.
Rick Glickman of Dream Kitchens, Skokie, Ill., uses Web statistics to boost business from his site ( www.dreamkitchens.com) to about $600,000 annually. Using Web stats, he was able to see what products (he offers stone care cleaning and maintenance products) visitors were looking at, so he knew what to eliminate and what to enhance. He reduced his 100-item shopping cart to 10 items. He also learned what links drove visitors to his site, and he improved ties to those manufacturers. And he learned his site was more popular in Australia, England, and Canada than in the United States. He's now comfortable with long-distance kitchen design and has designed kitchens for European clients.