General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Division
Spring 2003 vol. 9 Number 3
Tracking Your Traffic
You have a Web site. You love the look and consider the content outstanding. But what do your visitors think? According to Flying Solo, published by the ABA's Law Practice Management Section, you need to play traffic cop. Deborah McMurray, author of the chapter on marketing on the Internet, offers the following advice:
To ensure that your site is doing what you intended (generating new business, offering legal and business reference information), you must track your visitors. Ignore the wild graphics that tracking companies offer. According to Chicago consultant Nancy Roberts Linder, there are only three critical pieces of information you need on a monthly basis.
Number of actual visitors. The number of visitors is different from "hits." A hit is the number of total accesses to a Web site's pages measured over a period of time. This means that if someone visits your home page, goes to lawyer bios, heads back to the home page, checks out another section, and goes back home, it would count as five hits. Hits don't accurately measure the activity on your site. You must track visitors by their domains.
Who's looking? Tracking domains tells you if the visitor is from a commercial entity (.com or .net), an academic entity (.edu), a government body (.gov), or from a non-profit (.org.) Organize your report by domain name so that all .com addresses are together, all .org addresses are together, etc.
What are your visitors visiting? Tracking where your visitors go helps you to analyze the usefulness of material you have posted. Y2K pages were likely very popular the first six months of 1999, but won't garner much attention now. You should eliminate material that, over several months, doesn't hold your visitors' interest.
What tracking devices are best? WebCom is a California-based Web site hosting company. View a sample report at www.webcom.com/help/reports/sample_report.shtml. (You can also plug the words "Web site tracking" into a search engine such as Google and see what you get. Or check out what colleagues think on the SOLOSEZ listserv.)
For a copy of Flying Solo, A Survival Guide for the Solo Lawyer (3rd ed.), edited by Jeffrey R. Simmons with a forward by Jay G. Foonberg, go to www.abanet.org/abapubs/lawoffice.html and scroll down to the title under the subhead "Management and Administration." The price is $89.95. Or call the ABA Service Center to order at (800) 285-2221 and ask for product code 511-0463.