Your Web Traffic and Your Bottom Line
by Scott Buresh

Most companies that have websites have access to traffic
statistics, usually provided by their web host. Those that
don't look at these files (or use a bargain basement web
hosting company that doesn't provide them) don't know what
they are missing - there is a wealth of information to be
found, and reacting to this information can have a positive
impact on a company's bottom line. What follows are some of
the most basic stats that are typically available, followed by
brief suggestions on how to use the information. 

The Myth of "Hits"
Most web surfers have come across sites that boast about
"20,000 hits per day" or something similar. But what does this
mean? To an internet marketer, unfortunately, not much. "Hits"
actually refers to the number of requests for information the
web server receives. To use an oversimplified example, if your
company homepage has 20 separate graphics on it, each visitor
to that page will account for 20 hits. If you were boasting of
20,000 hits per day, you would really only be talking about
1,000 visitors. Obviously, this statistic is not a fair
indication of actual site visitors, and shouldn't be figured
into your traffic analysis.

Average Visitors (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
This is the true measure of website activity. Of course, more
traffic is desirable in most circumstances (provided it is at
least somewhat targeted). Without access to this data and the
ability to look at visitor history, it is impossible to tell
if your traffic building initiatives, whether online or
offline, are working. It should be noted that the more your
traffic increases, the more accurate the rest of your data
becomes. This is simply because trends in a larger sample are
more telling than trends in a smaller sample where a small
number of atypical users can skew the results. 

Average Time Spent On Site and Average Page Views Per Visitor
This data can be very useful in determining how your site is
connecting with visitors. If the average time that people
spend on the site is small (for example less than a minute),
or the average visitor only visits one or two pages, it may
indicate some sort of problem. Perhaps your site is attracting
the wrong traffic, with visitors abandoning the site quickly
when they realize it isn't what they were seeking. Perhaps
visitors are confused by the navigation and decide to look
elsewhere. Maybe your site, even though you love it, gives off
an inexplicable bad vibe. Whatever the case, an awareness of
the time people spend on your site and the number of pages
they view can bring a potential problem to your attention, and
help you gauge how effective your solution is. 

Most/Least Requested Pages
This information is helpful in determining the "hot" and
"cold" areas of your website. If you notice that a page that
you think is important is not getting any attention, perhaps
the link to this page should be made more prominent or
enticing. On the other hand, if there are areas of the site
that you deem less important that are attracting a great deal
of your traffic, you can shift some of your sales/marketing
focus to those pages. Whatever you find in these stats, you
can bet that it will give you valuable insight into the
interests and motivations of your visitors. 

Top Exit Pages
There are probably certain pages of your site where you don't
mind visitors leaving (after all, they can't stay forever). A
confirmation page after they fill out a request for more
information might be one example of a reasonable exit point. A
contact page that tells visitors how to get in touch with your
company might also be acceptable. Unfortunately, it is
unrealistic to assume that each of your visitors is going to
find exactly what they are looking for on your company site,
so it is normal to see a wide range of exit pages. However, if
a high percentage of visitors are leaving on any particular
page, it bears some close scrutiny. Sometimes minor
modifications in content can have a positive impact on visitor

Top Search Phrases
This data can be very useful in understanding what type of
traffic is coming to your site. If you see relevant phrases
that bring you consistent traffic, you can assume that you are
getting some targeted traffic. On the other hand, if there are
predominant phrases people are using to find your site that
are unrelated to your business, you know that at least some of
your traffic is of a lesser quality. In addition, if you
notice that people find your site by typing in the name of
your company, you should be pleased to know that you have
achieved some level of brand awareness. By examining the
search phrases that your visitors are using, you gain a better
understanding of your visitor.

Some people are intimidated by these reports (mostly because
of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn't be.
While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be
used for more in-depth analysis of site traffic, the above
areas alone can provide invaluable information on site
visitors and website performance. Remember - this data is
available for a reason. It's up to you to use it!

Scott Buresh is co-founder and principal of Medium Blue Internet 
Marketing ( For monthly tips on how to get 
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