What You Need to Know About Website Stats

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Published: 09th July 2012
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In order to make your website a success, you need to know how people find you and what they do on your site. Your web statistics provide you with the information that you need to test and measure your website’s performance. These are details that can tell you everything from how many people visit your site, to when they visit your site, where they come from, and what they do when they get to your site.

There are lots of free analytics programs out there that you can use to get your important website statistics. One of the most popular is Google Analytics, which you can find for free at http://www.google.com/analytics/. Google Analytics will give you a tracking code that you can paste onto your website. Then you can log into your Google account to view your website statistics.

Here are some of the most important website statistics you need to know about:

• Bounce Rate: The percentage of visits where the visitor enters and exits at the same page without visiting any other pages on the site in between.

• Click: Refers to a single instance of a user following a hyperlink from one page in a site to another.

• Click path: The sequence of hyperlinks one or more website visitors follows on a given site.

• Clickthroughs: The number of times that a visitor clicks through to your site from an ad or link on another site.

• Entry Pages: The first page a visitor sees when they arrive on your website.

• Exit Pages: The last page a visitor visited before leaving your site.

• Frequency / Session per Unique: Frequency measures how often visitors come to a website.

• Hits: A hit is simply an action that appears in your log as a webpage loads. The number of hits you get depends on your pages’ design. A web page of just text will register one hit, while a page with 20 graphics will register 20 hits. This might seem like an impressive number, but it doesn’t really tell you anything about how popular your site is, so it’s not very useful.

• Impressions: The number of times a webpage containing your ad is viewed.

• New Visitor: A visitor that has not made any previous visits. This definition creates a certain amount of confusion (see common confusions below), and is sometimes substituted with analysis of first visits.

• Page Depth / Page Views per Session: Page Depth is the average number of page views a visitor consumes before ending their session.

• Page View Duration / Time on Page: Average amount of time that visitors spend on each page of the site.

• Page Views: Every single viewing (downloading) of a page on your website is a page view. A unique visitor could view four pages and then refresh one page, for a total of five page views.

• Referrers: This is the URL of a website that refers visitors to your site. It can be a site with a link to your own or a search engine.

• Repeat Visitor: A visitor that has made at least one previous visit. The period between the last and current visit is called visitor recency and is measured in days.

• Search Terms: Also called “keywords,” these are the words and phrases visitors type into search engines to find your site.

• Traffic: The number of visitors moving through your website.

• Visitors: Visitors are individuals who visit your site. The number of unique visitors your site gets is the number you should use in any calculation using “visitors.”

• Web Analytics: Software packages (usually free) that measure raw data and presents your results in an easy-to-read, searchable statistic format. Many ISPs provide a basic web analytics package as part of your account.

Once you get your analytics program set up and start getting your statistics, you can use them to monitor your website's success and make improvements.

For example, if you notice that you have a high bounce rate on a certain page (meaning people get to that page and then leave without exploring any other pages of your site), then you know that you probably need to make some adjustments on that page to make visitors more interested. You could do things like update the page with fresh content, add pictures or some interactive element to engage your visitors, and so on.

Or, if you notice that most visitors are using a certain keyword to find your site, for example, you could start using that keyword more often on your site so that you can improve your search engine ranking for that keyword.

To learn more, check out www.freewebsite.com.

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