Web Page Statistics Demystified

Do web page statistics have your head spinning? What's a hit? How is that
different than a request? Is it the same as a visitor? And how about a
unique visitor? Here are some answers. Read on and you will also find out
how to use your web page statistics effectively in your online marketing
plan and web page design.

A Few Definitions:
Hits - This statistic counts each html file on a page. This includes the
actual page a person is looking at and it counts each picture on a page. If
your page has 3 graphics on it; then a visit to that page would generate 4
hits.

Requests - Usually, this is the same thing as a hit. If it is called a "page
request", it would be the same thing as "pages". This may sound confusing,
but people are using different terms to mean the same thing.

Visitor - This varies, but generally it is one IP visiting your site in a 30
minute period. If the same visitor comes back after 30 minutes, they will be
counted as a visitor again.

Unique Visitor - This is tracked by IP. Each IP is counted only once.

Page View - This statistic counts the number of pages looked at. It is not
like hits - it does not count graphic images.

Page Request - same as page view

Well, now what? There is a lot of discussion on how accurate website
statistics are. There are so many factors - different visitors using the
same IP or caching of pages. There are some ISPs that use Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol, such as AOL and cable modem providers, which use
different IPs for every file requested.* This can make one user look like
many. Pages with frames may give distorted statistics as the frame is its
own page, thus increasing the actual number of pages viewed.

Although you cannot take what your statistics say as gospel, you can learn a
lot about your website visitors and your web page from them. Thus, enabling
you to improve your website and to create a viable marketing and design
plan.

Generally, you want to learn more about what percentage of your visitors are
"buying", how people find you, what pages they are looking at and which
pages they are not looking at.

Focus your attention on the following statistics:
1. Visitors - You set up a web page because you want your visitors to do
something. It may be to purchase your product, sign up for your newsletter
or to request more information. Whatever your goal is, you cannot simply
look at the number of visitors to your site to determine your success.

You can have a 1000 visitors, but if no one purchases your product, signs up
or asks for more information - you are not achieving your goal. To figure
out your success rate take your sales or whatever you want your visitors to
do and divide it by the number of visitors. This will give you a percentage
of visitors that are "buying" what you are "selling".** Your goal is to
increase this percentage.

2. Pages - Find out which pages people are visiting and which ones they are
not. If they are not visiting a particular page - could it be because your
visitors are not interested? Perhaps, you just need to fix your navigation
to that page. You may want to rename the link to the page. Perhaps the title
is not attracting the right attention.

3. Referrals - Keep track of your advertising campaigns, reciprocal links
and search engine referrals. How many referrals are your advertising
campaigns or links giving you? If this number is low, there could be a
number of factors affecting your success. It could be that this is the wrong
place to advertise or perhaps your ad copy needs a bit of tweaking.

4. Keywords - This is an invaluable resource. This tells you how people are
finding your site on the search engines. It helps you find the keywords you
score high on so that you can maximize on them.

I recommend taking the keywords listed in your stats and checking your
ranking on them at sitesolutions.com free rank checking service at
http://www.sitesolutions.com

Capitalize on these keywords. Make sure they appear in the titles of your
relevant pages and that they are in the text body of these pages. Also
ensure these keywords are in your meta tags.

In the end, don't take your statistics too literally. However, do take the
time to read through them and analyze the general trends they are showing
you. They can provide an invaluable resource for you in the development of
your site and business.


About the Author

Alice Seba is the creator of http://www.internetbasedmoms.com, the online
home-based resource center for work at home moms. Receive great tips on
building your Internet Business right into your email inbox by sending a
blank email to mailto:subscribenewsletter@internetbasedmoms.com

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