Counting On Counters, Part 1

Stephen Yagielowicz

Knowing how much traffic you receive, where it comes from, what surfers are doing on your site, and where they're going when they leave, is incredibly important for developing an effective traffic flow plan. While more advanced traffic monitoring solutions are available, many Webmasters rely upon "counters" as an easy alternative to server-based solutions. Here's how to get started:

Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not the key to profitability. One of the most important things for Webmaster's to know is where their traffic comes from, and where it goes. While having a simple graphical or text based "hit counter" on your site can easily show the number of impressions that a particular page receives, it cannot show the source, path, or destination of that traffic. It'll also show the number of visitors you receive to the world at large - something that can work against you if your traffic count is low, as it may discourage traffic trades, reciprocal linking, and might even dissuade consumer confidence in your offer.

While the details of actually analyzing and using the relatively vast amount of information that site statistics can deliver is beyond the scope of this article, the important thing to realize is that you must first be able to consistently and reliably obtain this information. This is not as difficult as it may seem, as a number of companies offer free stats services for Webmasters. While not all of these free services are available for adult sites, those offered by Sex Tracker are, making them (arguably) the most widely used method of adult site statistics gathering, and a vast repository of adult site usage and traffic information.

SexTracker and the "XXX Counter"
Offering an updated design and new exit stats, the popular SexTracker counter is an extremely accurate and detailed web traffic analysis tool that allows Webmaster's to view traffic trends, visitor information, and exit paths through an easy online interface, and best of all it's free! Setting up a SexTracker counter is a simple matter. Click on the "Webmasters" link on their homepage, and you will be taken to the Webmaster's area where you will find a bold "Click Here to Sign Up for a SexTracker Counter" link.

You will be greeted by a long but simple form that will help SexTracker categorize your site. There are many options to choose from, and if some choices seem confusing, don't worry, you can always modify your account information later, after you become familiar with the program. You will have the option of selecting the mandatory counter banner size, with each increasingly large size allowing you access to a broader range of free services from SexTracker including better ranking in the SexTracker search engine and traffic exchange.

A number of other options were presented, most of which customized the level of information that you wish to collect from your site's visitors, and how you wish to have it displayed. Setting up additional accounts for the SexTracker banner exchange and "competing" "XXX Counter" were as simple as selecting the appropriate checkboxes. Be sure to read through all of the options carefully, and select the choices most suited to YOUR needs.

Once you successfully complete and submit the registration form, you will receive a confirmation page and email with your account number, password, and counter script setup information. I will suggest that you save this code to a text file, along with your username, password, and the URL where the counter appears. If you don't see the counter, then something is wrong with the way you added the code.

Copy and paste the code into your Web page then upload it to your server. You should now have a SexTracker counter displayed on your page in the location where you added the code snippet. If you don't see the counter, then something is wrong with the way you added the code. This is often the result of using WYSIWYG HTML editors like MS FrontPage to add code to your pages. These types of software are notorious for chewing up scripts, so try adding the code using a text editor like Notepad and see if that helps.

If you selected "Visitor Tracking" as an option during setup, then you will be presented with additional coding to be inserted into your page. Add this code to the previous script section, and then upload your edited page. Likewise, if you elected to use the "XXX Counter" to compare the results and "accuracy" of the SexTracker Counter, then this product's setup codes, as well as a separate username and password, will also be displayed on your confirmation page. Add this counter to your HTML and upload your finished page.

If you followed along with me, you are now collecting real-time information on the traffic levels and activities of your site's surfers. In our next installment, we'll take a closer look at this info and ways you can use it to improve your site's profitability. I'll also give you a few thoughts on counters, including their pros and cons. Stay tuned for more: