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reading your web statistics

Every time someone visits your site, their information is recorded. Where they came from, which pages they visited, where they “entered” and “exited” your site, and so on. Traffic reporting software, like Google Analytics and Urchin Statistics (owned by Google) organises this data into meaningful patterns and reports.

These traffic reports or website stats reports are one of the most overlooked tools available to help you understand how your site is performing and to increasing its performance. Reading these reports can uncover areas which can be improved and which may bring you lots of business.

Whichever traffic report software you use, you can find out what visitors to your site are doing and where they are coming from. Those who use the Urchin statistics package get a really good range of statistics. If you don't, we do recommend Google Analytics and in fact, it doesn't hurt to have them both! And you may find Google Analytics much easier to follow.

Here are some of the things to look at.

This shows the phrases visitors used in the search engiens when they found your website.

Shows your website's
unique visitors, that is unique individuals who view your website within a specified period of time.
number of visits over a period of time and whether they are changing. From this you can see whether a particular advertisement or promotion helped drive people to your site.
hits - this is a request to the server where your site is hosted. Each file is counted as a hit so it’s a figure to be careful with. Each image on a page, for example, equals a hit so one visit on one page might equal 11 hits!
visit duration – length of time people are spending on the site. If they are not staying lone, you may need to review your content.

Pages and content
You can see here which your most popular pages are. This can tell you which are important to customers which may help determine new products for your business.

Entries and exits
Shows where people are entering and exiting your site and what they look at in between. If many seem to exit from the same page it might need to be reviewed.

Here you can see where your visitors are coming from, such as search engines or other sites. This can also tell you search phrases visitors are using to find you. If you understand what people are searching for it can help you create more focused content.

You can see the domains, countries and IP addresses of your visitors. So, if you are offering accommodation and most of your visitors are from France, maybe you should consider including some pages in French on your website!

Web statistics can certainly help you determine the behaviours of people visiting your site. They are an undervalued tool for reviewing and improving your website and in turn your bottom line. You can focus on the pages visitors most use and improve them and research why certain pages are unpopular and improve those, both of which will improve your visitor numbers.

If you'd like help in reviewing your web stats and getting a plan of action together, please give us a call.

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