The Importance of Website Statistics
Website statistics are perhaps the most under-utilised resource that a website owner has. Many owners do not understand what they are or that they have access to them, let alone read, understand and use them properly. Here's a crash course, hopefully highlighting the benefits of using your website stats effectively, with a quick description of what the main informational components of your website stats are.
So what are website statistics?
If you have website statistics installed and activated for your website, then all of the traffic to your website is recorded and saved to log files. Useful data is displayed via a website statistics package such as the commonly used Web alizer (www.webalizer.com). Your hosting provider will be able to tell you how to access your website statistics, or can activate them if you don't already have them running. You will have the ability to go to a secured URL (usually based on your domain name) and login to view your website statistics as tabular and/or graphical data which is generally broken down into monthly and daily averages that you can view at any time.
So how are website statistics useful to you?
Simply put they can help you determine how your website is performing at any point or over a period of time (trend data). And let’s face it, who doesn't want to know how any of their business tools are performing? Your web stats can help you to answer questions such as this:
- Who is looking at my website?
- Where are they coming from?
- How do they get into my website and how do they leave?
- What search terms did they use on search engines to find my website?
The answers to these basic questions can tell you alot about how your website is performing. If the enquiries from your website are low, then it can tell you whether that is because the traffic to your website is low, or because the traffic you are getting is not converting to enquiries. Or if you do an advertising campaign in a newspaper or some other medium, then your stats will tell you the number of increased visitors to the website at that time, thus providing a measure of success of that advertising campaign.
Reviewing your website statistics can help you to monitor the performance of your website at that time, see how trends have developed over time, and help you plan for your website’s future growth and development.
Here is a brief description for some of the terms you will see in your website stats package:
The total number of requests that the server received during the reporting period. Any requests made to the server is considered a hit. (e.g. page, link, image). One page with 4 images opening generates 5 hits (1 for the page and 4 for the images). Hits are a measure that is dependant upon the content of your pages, so you need to take them with a pinch of salt.
A much more useful measure, this tells you the number of times people have visited the site. This is an important statistic, and relates to individuals visiting the site, although no differentiation is made for the same person visiting more than once.
Measurement of data transferred. Useful for tracking file download data.
Links in from other sites and search engines. Tells you from where and how much traffic you are getting.
Tells you which page visitors enter your website at.
Tells you which page visitors leave your website from.
Tells you what terms visitors used to find your website. Excellent information about the success (or not) of your keywords.
Ranked by top country of origin, gives you information about your geographical targeting.
Article submitted by Ashley Bryan - Internet Strategist and Account Manager for Strobe Net Limited.
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