How to Read your Website Statistics Report
Do you know which figures are the most important on your website statistics report?
Understanding your website statistics is vital if you are serious about your web marketing. They can help you develop your marketing plan, alert you to which pages on your website are more popular and which ones need attention, where your traffic is coming from, which keywords people are using and if you need to consider re-writing your content to include more keywords and key phrases.
Understanding your statistics
When you first enter your website statistics you will see a graph and a Summary By Month table. This will enable you to make a quick comparison between months to see how your website is performing. Hopefully – if your website marketing is working, you will see the number of visits to your site increasing over time.
For a more detailed analysis of each month, click on the name of the month (blue, underlined link).
The main questions that you will be able to answer from your detailed monthly website statistics are:
• How much traffic is coming to my site?
• Where on my site is traffic coming in?
• How is traffic coming in?
How much traffic is coming to my site?
The two most important statistics to look at will be:
a) Number of Visitors
b) Number of Page Views
The Total Visits shows you how many users come to your site and request a page. The visitor can move around your site visiting several pages, however they will still be only be counted as one visitor.
The Total Pages statistic indicates how many pages have been requested. This will give you an indication of the "stickiness" of your site. Stickiness is a good thing: if, for example, your statistics show 10 visitors, but 50 page views, it means that, on average, each visitor has viewed 5 pages. A large "page views per visitor" ratio will generally mean that your site is interesting and valuable enough to visitors that they will “stick” around and explore.
You may also find the Total Kilobytes useful. Your hosting package will allow a certain amount of bandwidth. If you find you are likely to exceed this bandwidth you may need to look at reducing the data that you have on your site.
Are Hits Important?
Although many websites used to proudly display how many hits they were getting on their site, it is actually not a good statistical indicator, because it depends on what you have on each page as to how many hits are recorded. A hit is a request made to the server where your website is hosted. Each file that is requested is counted as a hit. For example your home page may be a single .html page with 5 images on it. The number of hits recorded will be 6, as your .html page is one file and each image is also counted as a file.
Where on my site is traffic coming in?
You may be interested in knowing which pages of your site are bringing in the most traffic, since not every visitor will come through your home page.
If you scroll down through your statistics you will find the Entry and Exit pages. The statistics will show you a list of the most popular entry pages to your site, ranked by number of requests. Visitors who type a website address in manually will usually enter your website via the home page. Entry will not always be through your home page. Sometimes if pages have been well written and optimized for search engines, the internal pages will bring in more traffic than the homepage itself. It can also happen if it offers such good content that other sites link directly to it. Regardless of which page people are entering from, it is important that the website has a simple menu structure to ensure that visitors can find the information they are looking for.
Exit Page Statistics – show the last page that users visited prior to leaving your site. If a specific page seems to be losing most website visitors, then it should be reviewed to see if changes are necessary to attempt to retain more website visitors.
How is traffic coming in?
This describes the website address (or URL) where a visitor was before they came to your site. This gives you some idea of the websites or search engines that are referring traffic to your site and it can help you to see how effective your website marketing strategies are. With visitors moving from one page to another on your site, the majority of referrers will be URL’s from your own site. However, if you filter out your own pages, you will see what external URLs are bringing in visitors to your pages.
External referrers generally fall into two categories:
• pages that have posted a link to your site, and
• search engine referred traffic.
You will also find an entry in your referrer list named "Direct Request"; it shows you the number of times somebody accessed your pages by either directly typing your URL in the address bar, by using a bookmark or by following a link on an email message.
This will tell you which keywords and phrases visitors are searching for in Google and other search engines to find your website. This is extremely important as it will tell you if your selected keywords are working or not. It might also bring to your attention keywords that you may have not thought about. You can then use those keywords to further optimize your pages and bring in even more traffic.
When is traffic coming in?
You can also find out when visitors are coming to your site. You will find statistics by month, by day and even by hour. This can be useful in a variety of circumstances. For example, if you publish new content, you may want to release it during the moments of more traffic. Your statistics will help you by identifying the days or hours when more people are likely to visit your site.
Finally, you will also have access to other interesting data:
Total Sites: the IP addresses of your visitors (Total Sites), the browsers they are using, and even the countries they are coming from.
User Agents: provides information about the Browsers and Platforms (software and hardware) that people are using to visit your site. It is important that your site looks good across all browsers and operating systems. (It’s Ok… this is one of the checks that we perform at BizBoost before your site goes live).
Usage by Country: shows what country your website visitors are from. This is important if your website is only meant for people in certain area. If you have an online store which only delivers within Australia, and you notice that a large amount of your traffic is coming from the US, then you would need to review your web marketing strategies.
Using your website statistics
Use your website statistics to determine how well your website is working for your visitors, so that you can fine tune your internet marketing strategy to bring more traffic to your site.
Whenever you make changes to your website in order to improve the site, it's best to only make minor and gradual adjustments, and then watch your statistics to assess the progress over the next couple of months.
Also, it is important to remember that websites with a larger number of visitors will have more accurate website statistics. Websites with smaller numbers of visitors are more likely to have their statistics skewed by a few atypical visitors.
If you are not sure how to access your website statistics report give us a call.