I had an interesting discussion with one of my hunting parties about the choice of their web log analyzer. We stopped and took some time to discuss why knowing when things change, or where you are and where you want to be is very important when hunting ROI.
First let me say that there is a lot of data in your web server logs and some of the data is confusing until you learn how to read it. There are good and great analyzers out there, but almost anything is better then sifting through raw web log data to try and find your needed answers. Many if not all of the tools give you the basic: Daily Average and Totals of hits, files, pages, visits. Many can provide this data in very granular forms, i.e. daily, hourly, by minute. Some can even track users (if your URL is designed correctly), by path analysis by specific landing pages, and the list goes on. But that is not the data I am talking about, anyone can look at that and make a guess.
How about answering the question: Is a standard deviation of .44 for daily average page views per visit good or bad, if not what is a good number. If the daily page view mean is 5 what are my outer boundaries which represent 68% or 95%, and should I take notice any time I go outside these ranges? How do I compare my web logs before and after a campaign and prove that my latest pay-per-click or banner advertising campaigns were a success?
Answers to questions like these, and several more, will be coming in my BLOG soon.