Most blogs and websites come pre-installed with Webalizer, a web server log file analysis program. Understanding the data provided by Webalizer will help you know more about your site’s visitors and how you can better serve them.
Webalizer.org provides a “Simpleton’s Guide to Web Server Analysis,” but it is lengthy, so in this post we’ll “cut to the chase,” so to speak, and list the specific terms associated with Webalizer and what they mean to us as bloggers. This link provides an example of what the Webalizer stats look like.
To access the Webalizer data on your site, enter your blog’s URL followed by /cpanel. You’ll be required to enter the username and password from your web host, which may or may not be the same as the username and password to your WordPress dashboard.
- Hits — the total number of requests made to your server during a specified amount of time. Non-existent content is also counted.
- Files — number of successful server requests. In other words, the data requested was received by the person or bot that requested it. Note that hits and files are higher than visits because a page typically has a large number of file items on it, such as images, etc.
- Sites — number of unique IP addresses that made server requests. This figure is often used as a rough gauge of how many people viewed your blog. It is an estimate, however, because more than one person can use the same IP address, such as from a public library, and one person can use more than one IP address, such as a home and office computer.
- Visits — this is another number that can give bloggers a rough estimate of how many guests have stopped by your site. It represents the number of first-time requests for a specific page during a specific time. The default time is 30 minutes. This data is based on either IP addresses or HTTP cookies. If the same person requests more than one page during the specified time period, they are counted twice.
- Pages — also known as “Page Views.” This figure represents actual URLs being requested that can be identified by page file extensions, such as .html, .php, etc.
- KByte — the quantity of data that is being transferred between your server and remote sites.
Definition of common analytics terms used by Webalizer:
- Host — a machine that is running a browser.
- Site — a remote machine that makes a request to your server. This is based upon IP addresses.
- URL — Uniform Resource Locators specify where an item is located on the web.
- Referrers — URLs that lead users to your blog. Note that most referrers are internal because a page request automatically initiates a request for all items contained within that page, such as images, etc.
- Search Strings — what organic searches led visitors to your site.
- User Agents — browsers (Internet Explorer, FireFox, etc.)
- Entry — the first page requested during a visit.
- Exit — the last page requested during a visit.
Webalizer is not the only analytics program out there. In fact, some would argue it’s not the best. I typically use this information not as a judge of the exact amount of site visitors I receive, but look for things such as making sure I have consistent growth, which keywords (site strings) are bringing people to my site, and I watch the entry pages to see which posts and topics are bringing the most visitors.