How To Analyze Your Visitors To Improve Your Website
By Michael Rock ©
is available as a PDF
here to download it. Also
This article is a detailed description on how to interpret your web
hosting statistics software. Typically, the web hosting you have
comes with its
own web statistics program such as Webalizer or AW Stats. There are also free
traffic monitors such as servustats, web stats, and others. And for a nominal
subscription of around $15-$35 a month you can get a more detailed analysis
your visitors with a paid program.
Why is it important to monitor your
You could gain a lot of traffic to your web site by simply
looking at the number of visitors per month, but what do they do when they
reach your site? Do they visit the pages you want? Do they leave shortly after
arriving? What pages are they interested in? Etc. Armed with this important
information you can tweak your web site to help achieve your goals. What good
it to have hundreds of visitors go to your site if all they do is leave right
away or look at pages that are not important?
Since most statistics software don't have the same options I
will use my paid subscription I use and go over the details provided by it.
You will find that the free stat reports are limited to the information that
have, and after reading this article it will also help you decide whether you
want an upgraded version of the statistics report. So let's
Page views are
the number of times HTML pages are loaded in your visitors'
Page views measure the whole pages that are displayed to a
viewer and do not include the supporting image files. Every time a complete page
displays, it counts as one page view, even when the visitor just refreshes the
page, or leaves it for a second and then comes back.
whether your web site is interesting enough to look further into it and explore
browsed your site more than once during the selected time period.
words, these are all visits minus the first visits (or unique visitors) in
the selected period. The percentage of repeat visits to all visits will give
good picture of how appealing the content of your Web site is.
Do you give
your visitors a reason to return to your site? Is your site updated frequently
with articles and content?
By Time Zone
shows you what hour of the day they visited your site according to their time
By Local Time
shows you what hour of the day they visited your site according to your time
Day of the Week
of the week they visited. Was it during a weekend or weekday? You can determine
the best days to update your site or send out important information to your
customers with this report.
people view your web site during typical business hours or do they visit after
they have gone home?
What type of people visit your web site can be
determined from this. Should you concentrate on business people or not.
navigation path is a sequence of pages that the visitor viewed from the moment
he/she enters the site to the moment he/she leaves.
"From the marketing
view, it is important to know the most common paths your visitors follow to get
to the landing pages (that is the pages where the target events take place such
as ordering, file downloading, form filling and submission, etc.). You will
learn which of the navigation paths are the most effective."
frequent exit patterns will show where your site is underperforming. You will
see where to improve the content of your site to make your visitors' experience
The page that
a visitor goes to when first visiting your web site.
By setting your
links to go to specific pages of your web site you can determine which referral
links are working and which are not.
The page that a
visitor leaves your web site from.
Do your exit pages match your entry
pages? If so, then see what you can do to fix your entry page to keep visitors
on your site. Is it a navigation problem? Content not good enough?
Pages Viewed After Home Page
The success of your web site depends on how short the way from your home
page to your target page is.
This also helps uncover any navigation
problems or lack of interest in your web site.
visits grouped by the time that visitors stay.
It is a sign of how well
a site's content captures the visitor's attention. Do they leave a few seconds
after entering? Or are they thoroughly interested in what you have to say on
your web site?
measure of Visitor activity that counts only the first action of a visitor in a
selected period of time.
"This measures what a visitor does on the first
visit only in a selected period of time. The software will grab specifically
where they came from so you can tell the actions of one person visiting your
site. In other words if you have three unique visitors visit your site ten times
each instead of having a counter of 30 visitors you'll see 3 visitors and what
pages they visited."
The number of unique visitors versus page views is
an important indication of site performance. If you have a high unique visitor
count, but relatively low page view count, this is a sign of low site
attractiveness to visitors, so you should rewrite the site content. On the other
hand, if you have a low visitor count and very high page view count, this shows
that your site is stimulating people, however it needs more promotion.
This is a
brand-new visitor, arriving at your site for the first time.
are always unique, although they are not the same as unique visitors. The number
of new visitors will always be smaller than the number of unique visitors,
because a unique visitor is one arriving for the first time in the selected
period (so the system may identify the visitor as unique in the current period
but it also knows that he/she has been before). A new visitor is one on his
This will tell you if your web site is attracting new
report tells you how many times a certain visitor visits your site. Do they only
visit your web site once? A few times a day? Once a week? Several times a
This analysis is important to find out if people view your site
as something to come back to and let you know if you need to make changes to
keep people coming back.
or more pages are browsed during a visit, this will be counted in the Motivated
The ratio of visits when more than one page is viewed to
all visits is a good sign of your site's attractiveness.
New Visitors' Second Visits
This report lets you know how many of the new visitors returned to your
site. Not to be confused with repeat visitors, because this one monitors only
the new ones.
of return visits all of your visitors take.
Do the highest percentage of
all of your visitors visit only once? 2-4 visits? 5-10 visits? Or as much as 300
The reports here show you
where your visitors came from.
Bookmarked Pages and Direct
Do people bookmark your web site to visit later?
search engine did they use?
What keyword did they type in?
keywords are the most popular? Adjust your web site to the popular keywords.
Referring Pages (Links)
What other web sites did your visitors come from? Concentrate on the higher
Do they come from directories that pay off or not?
of the site are people most interested in?
pages to fix or delete?
Views Per Visit
pages are viewed during their visit?
Views Per First Visit
many pages do first time visitors view?
do they stay on different pages. Should you fix or delete the pages people don't
spend much time on?
Browsers and Browser
It is a good idea to see what a majority of your visitors view your
web site in. What does your web site look like in their browser? Try it, you may
be surprised to find out that some content is not readable or supported. Or it
may make your web site look awful.
your visitors using Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or WebTV?
visitors up to date, or are they still using Windows 95?
screen resolution do people view your site on? If a majority of people use 800 x
600 pixels do they have to scroll right and left to read the content on your
capability does your visitors computer have? Should you concentrate more on
using 'web safe colors' in your design?
Cookie and Java Support
Do you use these scripts on your web site? If your visitors have these
turned off they may not be able to view important parts of your web site. If a
strong number of people have this support turned off consider using other
are your visitors from? Does this pose as a problem?
do they use? If you see a growing number of a foreign language, consider making
your site bi-lingual.
What time zone
are they coming from?
Until the next article, have a
Copyright © Michael Rock
|The owner of this
registered company has over twenty years experience with DOS, windows business
applications, numerous programming languages, artistic development, and web
design. Other areas of interest include web marketing, web promoting, and
business marketing and development. After the persuasion of those praising his
work, he decided to go into business himself and highly suggests everyone else
to do the same. Visit Internet Presence: http://www.TheInternetPresence.com|