Valid HTML 4.01!

Valid CSS!



3. Analysing Traffic Logs and Website Statistics

<< Return to Due Diligence on Websites / Blogs

Whether looking to improve one's own site or assessing a third party site with a view to an acquisition, being able to understand and analyse the visitor statistics is a vital skill. The value in the quality dissection of a site's traffic cannot be over-emphasised. As they say, there's gold in them thar logs.

This article is in two parts:

Part 1 covers the terminology, why traffic logs are important, the anatomy of server logs, what can be deduced from these stats and how to interpret them.

Part 2 covers caveats, misinterpretations and how to conduct due diligence prior to purchase

Not every seller is trying to con website buyers with fake stats. However, what the seller himself believes may be wrong. There is no such thing as a 100% reliable traffic statistics package and that makes things very, very difficult.

Most stats packages are way off in their reporting and are unable to tell a genuine visitor from the millions of bots (robots) that trawl the web. Though most stats package can recognise the well behaved bots - like the ones from the major search engines - most other bots pretend to be humans ... and end up inflating visitor figures. But that's just the start of where the stats interpretation can go wrong.

Why your server logs are complete fiction

But there are clever ways

- of cross referencing figures to corroborate traffic volumes

- to get javascript accuracy on stats even if there isn't javascript stats code on the site!

- to see if there's some sneaky, undisclosed PPC advertising driving up the traffic figures artificially

- to uncover other nasty secrets

Page 1: Understanding website traffic stats

Page 2: Digging website stats for gold


<< Basics of Due Diligence on the Internet