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Web Log Analyzer tools

        As your efforts to turn your traffic into profit grows, so does the need to know exactly what your surfers are doing across your whole website. Some hosting services tell you enough about your traffic for you to never even need to view your logs, but that is still pretty rare.

Vital information you need to know about your traffic includes:
  • Where they came from. (Referrers) From both Web pages and Search engines, with an active link to the page that the visited WebSite is currently listed in. - Preferably in the chronological order of occurrence with the times of visits.
  • Which words they used to find you. (Keywords) Used in Search Engines linking to a WebSite. Preferably both cumulative and daily viewing options.
  • Spider traffic. (Indexing) Knowing when Googlebot, for instance, visits your site and how often is like knowing when your guests show up for dinner... Better clean house in time!
  • From where, by Countries and Cities. (Geotargeting) Where the visitors are physically located.
  • Which Browsers, Operating systems, and versions of Javascript, flash, CSS etc. used by the visitors' browsers. (Software versions) Very useful to conform your site's appearance to the masses.
  • Graphical trends. (Site statistics) Over a period of time, to measure patterns. The more reporting, the better.
  • Customized Analysis. (Site searches) Allowing for keyword query searches to customize information on visitors and traffic.
  • Unique users, not hits. (Screening) It's hard to believe, but many older server hosts only show the number of hits, and not the number of actual, unique users on your website. These days this is easily done by filtering hits with the IP addresses logged, and the difference in numbers is staggering.
  • IP tracking. (Security) As long as you need IPs logged, you should be aware of who went where. At the very least this is a good security habit, and at best it can be used to spot trends.
  • Exit pages (Interest determination) Knowing which page your surfers depart your website from is invaluable for planning your site upgrades. If there is a large amount of traffic departure from a certain page, then you simply have to make that page more interesting to keep them on your site.

      These statistics are all now important to know for your site's continued traffic health. Take a look at your website's control panel or existing log analysis software before you proceed, to make sure that you have access to all of the stats mentioned above. If your software or host control panel doesn't give you enough information, consider one of the free server-side or client-side tools listed below. You don't have to get the very best, you just have to make sure that you can see (and maybe run reports on) all those stats above.


Zoom Site Search and reporting suite

        Does your current traffic log reporting include an in-depth reporting of your ON-SITE search statistics? Yeah, that's what I thought... That's pretty rare these days, especially as freeware. Zoom site search from WrenSoft not only gives you a great CGI & javascript-based, (PHP Not necessary!) on-site search tool, but it actually gives you all the charts and graphs you could ever want to know about what people are looking for once on your website!

      Zoom's Free edition here is designed for use on small and/or personal websites, but it's not too small exactly, and it's upgradable to match your needs no matter what your traffic. It's a nag-free application that lets you use their search engines and the creation program with no time restrictions. However, if you have a website over 50 Pages, 50,000 words, or more than a few pages are over 100kb of text, then this may be too limited for you. It does, however, come with free email-based support. Best of all, you have total control over when your site is re-spidered to your search engine, not googlebot! (You index the site yourself, whenever you feel like it.)

      Yes, Zoom is the search engine of the website you are on. We love it, and here's a small demo of how powerful it is:
What the...?!? You searched 112 times for pink edible underwear??? Sicko...!

      Ok, so maybe not that automated... But you get the picture. It's the best, most full-featured freeware search there is, hands down. However, you must have the server-side ability to upload and run PHP, ASP, or CGI scripts. (Just about every host is offering that these days.) Also, this freeware version only allows indexing of 50 files; So if you've got more files than that, empty the directory they are in of stuff you don't want scanned, and don't have any sub-folders there!

Software specs:
Name: Zoom SE Indexer v3.1
File name: zoomsearch_setup.exe
File size: 1.03 MB
License: Freeware
Support site: http://www.wrensoft.com/zoom
Last known update: 9/8/2004
Developer: WrenSoft
OSs supported:Win 9x, ME, 2K, XP


Relax for Windows

        Relax for Windows is a free, specialized web server log analysis tool for referrer information processing. It answers the question: "Which search engines, search keywords and referring URLs led visitors to your site?". Its' reports tell you quantity of visitor you are getting from the leading search engines, as well as the most popular keywords being used. In this latest version (2.80) Relax recognizes the over 500 most popular search engines!

        It truly is a great tool for what it does, but it is limited in other respects, and probably should not be your ONLY web log tool... But added to what likely came with your server host, this should be the rest of the stats you need.

        Relax generates lists of URLs directing to your pages with a count of the number of times each referring URL was detected. It can also help you track down bad links, analyze what keywords to bid at pay-per-click search engines, measure the success of banner ads and affiliate programs, improve your understanding of your site's clientele, and track down potential intellectual property infringements, as well as to improve site's position in the search engines and to increase traffic overall.

        Relax is written in Perl, but this special windows version doesn't need you to have it anymore. It supports logs in RefererLog, Apache combined, NCSA extended/combined TransferLog, and WebSTAR format. For more exotic logs it's possible to define an ad hoc custom parser in the configuration file.

Software specs:
Name: Relax for Windows v2.80
File name: relax-2.80-win32.exe
File size: 1,752 kb
License: Freeware
Support site: http://ktmatu.com/software/relax/
Last known update: 9/8/2003
Developer: KTMATU
OSs supported: Win 9x, Me, 2K, NT, XP

Update: The latest parser file for Relax: Click here to download. (256 kb)
Then click here to read how to install it.
It makes your version recognize 519 Search Engines!


AWStats server log analyzer

        This is the web log analyzer that came with our current hosting plan, (UNIX) and we've never needed anything more. Few large businesses even could ever need more than this delivers, and most of them PAY for their log analysis! This is a major, heavy-duty piece of server software, not to be played with lightly. In fact, to show you how awesome this stuff is, take a look at this comparison chart: AWStats comparison -Yes, those are all of the most popular free log analyzers.

        Don't forget, you must have access to PERL on your Unix/Linux server. Your Perl version must even be at least 5.00503 (or higher) to use AWStats 6.0 or higher. There is a link, however, on the support page for a lower version of AWStats that will likely work if you fall just a bit short of that Perl Version.

        As a professional web programmer, I can honestly say that I cannot think up any needed statistic that the combination of this analyzer and the Zoom Search utility don't offer! Highly recommended!

Software specs:
Name: AWStats v6.1
File name: awstats-61.exe
File size: 804 kb
License: Freeware
Support site: Http://awstats.sourceforge.net
Last known update: 5/15/2004
Developer:
OSs supported: Win 9x, Me, 2K, NT, XP

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL, WORKING DEMO!


Smarter Stats

        This is THE enterprise all-in-one web log solution. In fact, it has evolved so far past simple Log Analysis, that the product's website only refers to it as a productivity enhancement tool... Over 130 Report items, Geographic Reporting, Standard Reports for Marketing Departments, CEO's, and Webmasters, Interactive Reports that allow you true data mining, Custom Designed Reports, System Administration unlike any other log analysis product on the market, and more all combine to make SmarterStats extremely easy to market statistical data to potential and current customers and management!

        This freeware version only restricts the number of domains you can use it on, down to 1. (A standard single-license) but don't let that throw you, once you see what it has, you'll be tempted to pay for it anyway!

        OK, to get you drooling, check out their demo:
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL, WORKING SmarterStats DEMO!

        Now for the bad news. This thing needs some serious server & PC installation, which is still unfortunately stopping me from testing it for you fully. I haven't been able to get my site host to give me a streight answer yet about if they can do it on their end, mainly because it's a Unix server and this is a Microsoft.net Framework. -Which of course is the first thing the installer file loaded on my PC, so at the very least I should be able to use the log files that I FTP'd down locally.

        The client software itself requires you to run Microsoft 2000, XP, or 2003, and it uses 100MB of your HD to install the Microsoft.NET 1.1 Framework. To fully comply to your server, so you can view stats in real time, your server apparently needs to be NT, not Unix, and it must run on a UNC network. I've given up on that for now, but I'll tell you guys how everything is going with the local files when I get a chance though.

Software specs:
Name: SmarterStats v2.61
File name: Smarterstats_Setup.exe
File size: 8.0 MB
License: Freeware
Support site: www.smartertools.com/support.htm
Last known update: 12/2/2003
Developer: SmarterTools Inc.
OSs supported: Win 9x, Me, 2K, NT, XP


Domain Name Status Reporter

        The simple little 1-screen Domain Name Status Reporter, from the guys over at Softnik Technologies, (who have made many of the tools on this site) will allow you to WHOIS the domain names of all global top level domains, that you either type in one at a time or import as a text file, all at once. (Bulk Whois) It's main purpose is for those who are domain shopping, but I put it here for you guys who need info on the bulk domain names that visit your website... It's quite a simple tool with a flexible use! -It even allows you to set which WHOIS server you want to use for each query.

Software specs:
Name: DomainStatus
File name: domainstatus_setup.exe
File size: 416 kb
License: Freeware
Support site: http://www.domainpunch.com/support
Last known update: Dynamically generated
Developer: Softnik Technologies
OSs supported: Win 9x, Me, 2K, NT, XP


Whois View

        Whois View from Softnik Technologies (yes, we really like those guys here...) is a very simple software tool for finding the owner of an IP block or domain name, just one at a time. However, what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.

        Type in a host name OR IP address, and it will retrieve the ownership information by digging through various authoritative whois servers... All of them if it has to, in order to find your target's information. WhoisView will find information that all other similar tools are unable to or don't bother to locate. You may specify additional whois server for country code domains if required. It may even be used to find information like:

  • Who owns a domain name (who is Admin, Billing, etc.)
  • Who owns a specified IP address block
  • Who is the web hosting provider for a website &
  • Who provides the DNS, Email handling, etc for a domain.
A great tool for those that really WANT TO KNOW who that was on their site!

Software specs:


Name: WHOIS VIEW
File name: whoisview_setup.exe
File size: 403 kb
License: Freeware
Support site: http://www.whoisview.com/products/whoisview
Last known update: 11/26/2003
Developer: Softnik Technologies
OSs supported: Win 9x, Me, 2K, NT, XP


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