Jan 26, 2010

Deciphering Web Stats

One of the great advantages of a website is the ability to track a large amount of information about your visitors including statistical and demographic. This information can be charted to give you an insight into how best to utilize your website for more conversions or sales.

Number of Visits

Number of visits is the total number of times your website is visited, including repeat visits, over a specified period of time (days, months, years). Visits are counted by the user’s unique IP address (Internet Lingo 101).  A single visit might last anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 hours, and can include a single page of your website or all of them, since your website stats will tally a visit from the first moment a user lands on one of your pages to the moment they surf away to another website.

Unique Visitors

Unique Visitors refers to the number of users who visited your website during a specified period of time. Unique visits only count a user once during the time period being reported on, no matter how many times they visit your website. This is why your stats will typically show more Visits than Unique Visitors.

Hits

Hits are requests made to the server where your website is hosted. Hits count the total number of items requested like pages, images, JavaScript, Flash animations, etc. that were accessed. For example, if a request was made of your homepage (index) which contained 5 images, the total hit count for that page would be 6 (1 page + 5 images). Because of the technical nature of this item, “hits” is typically only useful for web masters or server administrators.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data (measured in megabytes) transferred from your website to a user’s computer. For example if your homepage is a total of 10mb and 50 people visit, then your bandwidth would be 500mb (50 visitors x 10mb).

Page Impressions / Page Views / Page URLs

Pages refer to the individual web pages of your whole website. Common web pages include home, about us, contact us, etc. Page Impressions (or Page Views) are the number of times a web page (page) is requested from your host server by a visitor.  Most stats programs will report the total number of Page Impressions for your entire site, as well as impressions for individual pages and files (like PDFs, images, and videos).

Page / Visit Duration

Page Duration measures the time (seconds) that a specific web page was viewed by the user. While Visit Duration measures the total time (seconds) that a user spent on your site.

Entry / Exit Page

Entry Page is the first page viewed by a user visiting your website. The most common EntryPage for your website is usually the homepage (typically index.asp or default.asp). Conversely, Exit Page is the last page a user viewed before leaving your website and going to another website or closing the browser.

Top Paths

Top Paths refers to the sequence of pages viewed by users from their Entry Page to their Exit Page.

Referrers

Referrers are other website addresses (URLs) that users were on previous to an Entry Page on your website. Referrers can be other websites (Referring Site), search engines (Referring Search), or web advertisements.  However, it is also common for there to be no referrer. This happens when someone gets to your website from an email link or a bookmark, or types your URL directly into the address bar of their browser.

Keywords and Keyword Phrases

Keywords are the words that users are using to find your website in search engines (like Google). Keyword Phrases are the word combination(s) or phrases that people are using to find your website.

Both keywords and keyword phrases are extremely important to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as they confirm which search words and phrases have successfully translated into website traffic.

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