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helpAbout Website Statistics

About website statistics

There are two very different kinds of website statistics...

Log analysis -- The website makes a note in a log file of every interaction it has with the outside world.  With the log analysis approach, these log files are reviewed to generate website statistics.  Such an approach tends to be very thorough.

Ready-Set-Go! websites do log analysis using a popular program called AWStats.  We filter out irrelevant files (such as .jpg image files, .css stylesheets, and the backend admin pages used to control the website). Logfiles are rotated monthly to conserve disk storage space, but filtered AWStats results remain available over time.

Statistical information is collected automatically. Results can be emailed out automatically at some frequency (typically monthly).  Additional reports can be generated filtering on specific parts of the website.

Embedded page tracking analysis -- With this approach a small javascript code is placed in each web page.  When a visitor views that page, the code executes and informs a particular location on the internet which is watching for and tracking this information.  Statistics are generated from this accumulated data.

Ready-Set-Go! is able to embed the appropriate codes for the popular Google Analytics system.  However, such codes are not embedded by default, since they depend on (1) setting up a free account with Google (2) sharing statistical information with a third-party (i.e. Google) and (3) the javascript codes can slow down web page loading speeds (slightly).

Assessing the options:  Web server log files naturally contain more information than can be collected through the embedded page tracking approach.  However, some argue that the embedded page tracking approach is more accurate because it only counts "human" traffic (page views that execute the tracking code). Statistics generated by log analysis will display a higher volume of results (i.e. more hits) than embedded page tracking analysis. 

The reality is that no statistical is perfectly "accurate." The important thing is to gain an understanding of the kind of data you are looking at in each case.  Each approach can be useful for different reasons.

Embedded page tracking analysis does rely on your being willing to share your web traffic information with a third party. 

Other useful resources (other websites):

Chris Paige

efax 206-350-3758
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Ready Set Go!
Business development and project management solutions
for your small business or non-profit organization