University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We had a major redesign of our website a year ago onto a content management system and have been running Sawmill stats but are not getting the kind of information that is helpful for our marketing strategies. We'd be interested in hearing from other colleges and universities about useful software packages, beneficial features to look for, and key metrics that are helpful.
--sue d.

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We use Google Analytics and have been for just over a year. It's free and probably gets just about everything you could want. I'm hoping to post some of our 2007 annual data on my blog in the next week so stay tuned.
I use Visitors Fast Web Log Analyzer. It can get you really good info and generates really nice self-contained html reports that you can e-mail to people, but you run it from the command line so it was a little intimidating to get started with. You can get a a windows version for a little money but the linux version is free, so I just run it on my linux machine. If you're running IIS you have to convert the log files to apache first but there's a perl script you can download from the visitors site that does that.

It generates pretty complete reports but most of the stats requests I get are based on a single question like "Is all that money we're paying X company worth it? How many of the visitors on our site are actually coming from there?" It's perfect for answering questions like that when you combine a grep seach with the visitors analysis.

I'm sure this sounds really complicated and maybe not worth the trouble but I've found it to be a really quick, easy, useful tool to get answers to specific stats questions when the bigger picture stats are really not telling you anything about the less traveled portions of your site.
Is anyone using any of these tools on log files generated from a server you are running local WordPress blogs on? That is one of our primary area of interests - getting better stats about who is reading our blogs, which posts & authors are more popular, which videos they're watching, etc.
I've got a WordPress personal blog that I've got Google Analytics installed on... I don't know if that exactly answers your question? You can read more about how to do all this on my blog. I did a two post series about how to setup WordPress the right way for SEO and analytics. First part deals with the setup and the second part goes through plugins and themes.
Google Analytics doesn't read server log files.
Clicktracks and AWStats are great for looking at the logs. Urchin 5 is, too, but good luck buying a license for it, or even finding a Google rep who knows what it is.
I have Urchin 5 (& found a few firms that could help me with it, but I talked about my woes with that in another post), and I've run my log files against it & it doesn't help tell me which specific posts or authors are most read, or the paths through the site. I assumed because the WP code is PHP and all posts are calling the same page, so I don't think the log is either recording the string at the end for the post or author #, or Urchin doesn't get it.
Hmm. I want to say there's a setting somewhere that will tell Urchin to include the query string? I'm sorry I can't remember -- it's been a couple of years since I used Urchin.
Stephanie, I've been using Clicktracks for a couple of years and in general, I'm happy with it. Could you compare Clicktracks and Clicky?
I haven't used ClickTracks much and I've had Clicky for two days, so this will be pretty superficial....

Clicky has a lovely overview page that tells you what's going on today. It lets you trace one user at a time. It doesn't offer an overlay view, which was my favorite feature in ClickTracks. It does follow outgoing links and file downloads. The spy feature is an Ajaxy page that updates itself as visitors hit various things on your site. It's kind of addictive, if slow.

What I really like about it so far, as opposed to GA, is that it's easier to read the reports because they include the page title, not just the URL. It also shows a little country flag for the visitor's origin, and it uses icons to represent the browser used. The interface details are great, and as an overview, it's probably easier for non-techy people to follow. As a source of in-depth data, I think both ClickTracks and GA are superior. Clicky is ideal for bloggers, but a little lacking for large sites.
You should be able to do that sort of thing with visitors. You'd be able to do a grep search for the video file or an image or the author name (as long as that would be recorded in the logs) pipe that into visitors and see exactly how many hits each of those items gets & where they're coming from. I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work on word press pages as long as you know the names of the files you're looking for.
Anyone using Clicky know why it would be blank under the link called "clicks" on my dashboard? And, under "Actions" there doesn't seem to be any actual action, just a list of addresses visitors have visited. I'm looking specifically for click paths through the site & thought these two areas would show that??



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