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Brothers 1 Anthony D. Brothers Professor Piercy MIST 7500 10

Brothers 1 Anthony D. Brothers Professor Piercy MIST 7500 10

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Brothers 1Anthony D. BrothersProfessor PiercyMIST 750010 October 2009Web Analytics & Attractiveness:Applied Social NetworkingWeb Analytics is the gathering and analysis of evidence regarding web usage. This evidence provides the information technology community with performance feedback. However, the feedback is blotchy because links between what users are doing on the web and why are opaque. For example,during Ron Swift's “Web Analytics” presentation he mentions the problem of “The AbandonedShopping cart,” users visit a web site, add items to their shopping carts', and then leave without makinga purchase. This is what users are doing but the question is why? Did their browser or computer malfunction? Were they repulsed by an obnoxious advertisement? All these conclusions are plausibleand web analytics is short of making a determination. Nevertheless, the attractiveness, gravitation, andsearch engine optimality of web artifacts can be determined by applied web analytics.Web analytics gather data using two distinct techniques. The Wikipedia article titled “WebAnalytics” labels these techniques as “Log file analysis” and “Page tagging” respectfully. The former negotiates log files on a server and the latter scrutinizes web artifacts delivered to a client. Regardlessof the technique, the data is plumbed for information regarding marketing campaign effectiveness,search engine optimization, and user experience. Table 1 lists several web analytics terms that matchthe plumbing criteria. Is the data gathered by log file analysis more accurate or encompassing than datagathered by page tagging? Both techniques utilize a web analytics data processing engine. This engineis the brains behind every web analytics product. If the data is gathered using log files, then the webanalytics data processing engine must analyze these log files and produce reports based on webanalytics rules and end-user configuration. If the data is gathered from JavaScript clients then the web
 
Brothers 2analytics data processing engine must process data stored from XML HTTP request. Also, the webanalytics products must be designed to facilitate the integration of future web analytical rules.Table 1: Web Analytics Terms.TermDefinitionHitsThe number of document requests users make with a particular URL.FrequencyHow often visitors come to a website.Event trackingMonitoring page events in their frequency and succession.Traffic Overall web usage and buzz.Geo-locationThe location, typically region or state specific, of visitors.In support of the log file analysis, log files are commonplace in web applications. Applicationdevelopers have sophisticated logging mechanism that discriminate log messages – messages stored ina log file. Three different levels or types of logging are: debug, error, and information. Log messagesfor web analytics fit in the information level because they are not used to debug an application nor represent a critical state of an application. These log messages, and therefore the log files, are strictlyinformative and are formatted for a particular data processing engine.In support of page tagging, the task of integrating web analytics to a project's front-end mayonly require a single web developer. This developer, having JavaScript development experience, canwrite JavaScript that tracks page events (clicks, hovers, submits, etc...) and transmits this information toan application that stores it in a database. With this technique, we place our users under scrutiny – monitoring the position of their mouse relative to the page and their interaction with page elements. Inthe database, you may run queries or use a business reporting tool to generate web analytics reports.Let's look at two enterprise web analytics products; Google Urchin and Google Analytics: eachimplementing one of the two data gathering techniques I've mentioned.First, I'll discuss Google Urchin. This web analytics product stores data in log files, which arethen processed by Urchin's robust log file processing engine – producing reports that provide use withinformation regarding the key terms I've mentioned in Table 1 and more. During scheduled reporting,
 
Brothers 3the log files are then scanned, dissected, and measured for web analytics reporting. Google states,“Urchin Software from Google analyzes traffic for one or more websites and provides easy-to-understand reports on your visitors - where they come from, how they use your site, what convertsthem into customers, and much more. “ Fantastic, but Urchin sports a price tag in the neighborhood of $3000.00 and is an in-house web analytic product. This means that one would have to install GoogleUrchin locally and have to bear the administrative, equipment, and maintenance costs that occur. Onthe other hand, hosting Urchin allows you to enforce your own security policy without having tomodify firewall rules for an external web analytics client. As the saying goes, “Never trust the client.”In this case, one doesn't have to defend themselves from clients afar.The second web analytics product, Google Analytics, is free and implemented as a JavaScriptlibrary for its' end-users convenience. Because of this, web developers can easily integrate GoogleAnalytics into existing web artifacts. Google states, “Google Analytics is the enterprise-class webanalytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. “Since you won't be hosting Google Analytics, the administrative and equipment costs are relieved.However, one may need to adjust their firewall rules as to allow access to the Google analytics domain.Also, if the behavior of Google analytics is spurious you won't have a handle on the situation or evenknow what's going on. The condition of Google Analytics is in the hands of Google and you'll have to bite your nails and wait out anything critical. Now that we've gone over web analytics product alternatives, how do we use them? I havedevised a three-step process for web analytics end-users to take advantage of whatever alternative theychoose. First, understand and evaluate the data produced by your web analytics client. The termsmentioned in Table 1 are tantamount to interpreting web analytics reports but there are also many moreterms that you should be familiar with depending on your business needs. Since the purpose of this datais to produce web analytics reports, one must understand the rigor and flexibility of this data andconfigure the web analytics reporting engine to output vital statistics regularly. If we are not concerned

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