Web analytics is the study of the behavior of a web site’s visitors. It typically refers to the use of data collected from a web site to determine which aspects of the web site work towards the site’s objectives, and which don’t; for example, which pages encourage customers to make a purchase, and which pages send them to your competitors. Data collected almost always includes web traffic reports, as well as e-mail response rates, direct mail campaign data, sales and lead information, user performance data such as click mapping, or other custom metrics as needed. …more on web analytics. logfile vs page tagging analysis

     The following paragraphs will put you to sleep!  In most situations google analytics will do the trick. Google analytics are extremely thorough and free. Your only cost is the set up and analysis time. If your having a hard time sleeping- continue.

     The two main technological approaches to collecting web analytics data are logfile analysis which reads the logfiles in which the web server records all its transactions and page tagging which uses JavaScript on each page to notify a third-party server when a page is rendered by a web browser Logfile analysis vs page tagging Both logfile analysis programs and page tagging solutions are readily available to companies that wish to perform web analytics. In many cases, the same web analytics company will offer both approaches. The question then arises of which method a company should choose.

     There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. Advantages of logfile analysis over page tagging are as follows. The web server normally already produces logfiles, so the raw data is already available. To collect data via page tagging requires changes to the web site. The web server reliably records every transaction it makes. Page tagging relies on the visitors’ browsers co-operating, which a certain proportion may not do (for example, if JavaScript is disabled)The data is on the company’s own servers, and is in a standard, rather than a proprietary, format. Page tagging solutions involve vendor lock-in. Logfiles contain information on visits from search engine spiders. Although these should not be reported as part of the human activity, it is important data for performing search engine optimization. Logfiles contain information on failed requests; page tagging only records an event if the page is successfully viewed.

      Advantages of page tagging over logfile analysis are as follows. The JavaScript is automatically run every time the page is loaded. Thus there are fewer worries about caching. It is easier to add additional information to the JavaScript, which can then be collected by the remote server. For example, information about the visitors’ screen sizes, or the price of the goods they purchased, can be added in this way. With logfile analysis, information not normally collected by the web server can only be recorded by modifying the URL. Page tagging can report on events which do not involve a request to the web server, such as interactions within Flash movies. …more The page tagging service manages the process of assigning cookies to visitors; with logfile analysis, the server has to be configured to do this. Page tagging is available to companies who do not run their own web servers. Logfile analysis is almost always performed in-house. Page tagging can be performed in-house, but it is more often provided as a third-party service.

      The economic difference between these two models can also be a consideration for a company deciding which to purchase. Logfile analysis typically involves a one-off software purchase; however, some vendors are introducing maximum annual page views with additional costs to process additional information. Page tagging most often involves a monthly fee, although some vendors offer installable page tagging solutions with no additional page view costs. Which solution is cheaper often depends on the amount of technical expertise within the company, the vendor chosen, the amount of activity seen on the web sites, the depth and type of information sought, and the number of distinct web sites needing statistics.
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