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Red_CurlyC035.gif (995 bytes) Follow the trends of your visitors

A site is designed for others- not yourself- to see. Webmasters often over-indulge themselves in what they like when creating a site, ignoring the audience's needs. Just because you're an expert in Flash programming, and happen to love Flash on your site, that doesn't mean your audience equally likes- or is even capable of viewing- Flash. Knowing the make of your visitors, or more loosely, the general construct of the internet is essential to designing an effective site.

There are many ways to go about gathering all this information, and we'll discuss the major ones below.

The log files of your website is the most important tool you have in helping create a site that caters to your visitors. These huge, clumsy files usually tell you when, how, at what time, and using what browsers your fans are getting to your corner of the web. If 75% of people coming in are using IE 4+, as are the visitors of JavaScript Kit, you know you could more comfortably include extravagant, fancy DHTML effects on your site. If you knew where your visitors are coming from, you could use that information to more effectively promote your site, by forming deeper partnerships with sites that send you a lot of traffic, and re-thinking your position with sites that don't. It's hard to overstress the importance of log files to the success of your site's design and strategy. Now, these files by themselves are not going to tell you anything; you'll need to run a log analyzer on them to extract out human-readable information. A few good (and free) log analyzers are:

-AXS Site Tracking System (http://www.xav.com/scripts/axs/index.html)
-WebLog (http://awsd.com/scripts/weblog/index.shtml)

For you poor folks who do not have access to your site's log files, as an alternative, consider adding a third party tracking counter. Two good ones are:

-Extreme Tracking (http://www.extreme-dm.com/tracking/)
-Hitbox.com (http://www.hitbox.com)

-Tutorial Introduction
-Follow the trends of your visitors
-Follow the trends of the internet as a whole

Follow the trends of the internet as a whole

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