Web log analysis for small business owners: What you should know

Web log analysis is a set of tools and techniques used to analyze how visitors interact with your website. Web analytics are used in many industries, but they are most important for small business owners.

In this article we share some things every small business owner should know about web log analysis.

What is web log analysis?  

By simple definition, web log analysis is the process of tracking visitors to a website. The process has become quite simplistic these days, unlike in the past, where you had to install a JavaScript tracking code on a website to capture visitor data.

Web log analysis tools provide crucial insights about your website visitors by parsing web server logs, including who visited, how, when, and from where. This information is captured from a log file on your server, where all interactions between your site and its users are stored.

Why should small business owners use web log analysis? 

The person who said that information is power wasn’t hallucinating. With web log analysis, small businesses can mine information that can help them become more competitive, grow, and succeed. Understanding how your target audience or internet users interact with your small business website can be beneficial in many ways. Here are a few ways web log analysis can help you as a small business owner.

1) Streamline operations

You can detect and rectify system flaws before they cause too much damage or inconveniences. You can avoid costly events such as downtimes and service disruptions, which could hurt your sales, reputation, and market competitiveness.  

2) Improve web security

Log analytics can also help detect security loopholes, breaches, and hacking attempts on your server. From the captured data, you can gain insights on ways to block attackers from accessing your website.

3) Complement sales and marketing efforts

Log analysis can measure how effective your marketing campaigns are. Critical information like traffic, user navigation, and conversion issues can also help improve sales.

4) Allocate resources properly

For a small business, it is paramount to know how many websites visits to expect, when, and from where. This way, you can allocate resources properly for hosting, server bandwidth, storage capacity, CPU cycles, and much more. This can help maximize productivity while improving service delivery and enhancing your profit margin.

5) Ensure compliance

Finally, you need to ensure compliance in your small business if at all you’re going to become the next big name in the industry. Web log analysis can help you determine whether your communication media such as emails, texts, and video conferencing are compliant with government policies and regulations, for instance. Using HIPAA-compliant solutions can help you avoid litigation and costly legal issues.

How do I get started with web log analysis? 

Getting started with web log analysis is fairly easy. Since different small businesses may have different needs, the first and most important thing to do is identify the best tool for the job, purchase or download it, and you’re good to go. Some of the best tools will have a free trial alongside tutorials and resources to help you learn how to use them.

Is there anything that I should do to make the most of my data? 

The wealth of data you get from web log analysis is meaningless if you can’t take advantage of it. To get the most from your data, be sure to involve different professionals and team players in different departments. At times, you may have to outsource a professional IT or SEO specialist for interpretation. A good log analyzer should also have tips on how to draw inferences from your analyses.

To sum it up, analyzing your site log can impact every department of your business. From helping improve revenue, streamline operations, ensure compliance, and keep customers happy, log analysis can have numerous direct or indirect benefits to your business. In this article we’ve shared just a few things you should know as a small business owner or manager.

Photo by Brandy Kennedy