When marketing your website, it’s important to know which of your efforts are producing results and which of them are a waste of time.
You can learn a lot about this by analyzing your website’s statistics (assuming your webhost offers this service).
However, even with the best statistics programs, it can be difficult to determine where exactly your visitors are coming from. Did they arrive on your product page by clicking a link in your newsletter or did they get there by clicking the banner you’ve paid to have displayed on Yahoo?
The best way to answer this question is to track your links. You can do this by buying link tracker software or by employing a third-party service to do it for you.
However, if your budget is tight, there’s one way you can track your links without spending a dime.
This can be done by tagging a question mark followed by a piece of text at the end of your hyperlinks. This will not affect the way the link works, but will help you identify that link in your website’s statistics.
For example, http://www.yoursite.com/page1.htm?linka will point simply to http://www.yoursite.com/page1.htm as if the “?linka” were not there at all.
However, when you analyze your statistics, you will have separate results for both links. That way you can determine how many people visited page1.htm and how many people visited page1.htm by clicking the link marked ‘?linka’.
You can use this to test the effectiveness of any or all of your links. For example, if you want to know how many people are arriving on your product page from your newsletter, your banner ad and your home page, you could set up your links as follows:
The link from your newsletter: yoursite.com/product.htm?newsletter
The link from your banner ad: yoursite.com/product.htm?banner
The link from your home page: yoursite.com/product.htm?home
When you analyze your visitor statistics you can clearly see how each of these links are performing and then act accordingly.
As there is no limit to the amount of distinct links you can create, you can easily track all your links at no cost.