Interpreting Your Website Statistics


Whew!  I had a mind-blowing January!  The site was started January 17, 2008 and the results were fantastic!  I was quite impressed.  Without having to resort to any black hat techniques the site did very well.

Here is the summary for January — remember this is from January 17 – 31, 2008 only:

Internet Business Opportunity

I was pleasently surprised.  Am I doing this to brag?  No, not really — but to prove to you that by following some common sense advice (that’s really been under my nose all along – but I was always looking for the next fix that would make me a millionaire without trying) YOU can get there.

These stats were achieved using only a few techniques – the one thing that I did not try at all was Blog Carnivals.  I just purchased a special from James Brausch to learn how to take advantage of Blog Carnivals.  Sure I’ve done my research, and I could start at any time (and actually have) but why not learn from the masters?  After all he said that you should post daily to your blog — and I’ve done so and the results prove that it works.

I’d like to show you something else:

Internet Business Opportunity

Now on the whole, this looks pretty bad — but did you notice what happened after the 28th?  My 404 started to drop.

What did I do?  How did this happen?

Simple – I was fooling around with WordPress which messed things up.  Now when a user visited via a link, the link was looking for a “html” file — but I changed things so there was no “html”.  They were getting to a generic 404 page.

Sure that’s OK atleast I kept them.  Right?

Well it appears in my case, no.  They were leaving.

You see they were looking for SPECIFIC information and when they didn’t find it – they were leaving!  So I tinkered a bit and created a corresponding HTML for each file/object that my stats program said was being called but not found.  That resulted in the drop in 404 because the HTML file redirected the user to the CORRECT page!

Now then the title of this post is “Interpreting Your Site Stats” – so lets do some interpreting.

Hits, page views, visitors, bandwidth.  Not totally alien words, but lets examine what they mean.

Hits – The hits statistic is the most mentioned and is often misleading especially if you don’t understand exactly what it means. Hits represent the number of files sent to a user after a page request (clicking on a link to your website). In order to see the page, the user has to get all the graphic files that are located on your page. If a page has 25 pictures, one single visit will trigger 26 hits: 25 for the pictures and one for the page itself. If your page is linked to any external JavaScript or CSS files, they will also count as hits as well. Hits could be displayed as total hits per year, per month or per day. Hits are important for advertising. Usually web advertising rates for banner ads and such are based on CPM, or counts per 1,000 hits/page views.

Visits/Unique Visitors – The number of visitors shows you how many users come to your site and request a page.  The visitor can move around your site visiting several pages however he will still be counted as only one visitor.  This method is also time-based so that if a visitor takes more than half an hour (or the amount of time set by your host) to click from one page to another, the program will register two visitors (repeat visits).

Pages/Page Views – Pages mean total distinct html files or pages looked at on your website. It is a very important number because it is indicative of the “stickiness” of your site.  Stickiness is a good thing. For example, if your statistics show 10 visitors, but 70 page views, it means that, on average, each visitor has viewed 7 pages. A large “page views per visitor” ratio usually means that your site is so interesting and valuable that users are inclined to “stick around” and explore. Your stats could show total pages retrieved per year, per month or per day.

It is also based on the visitor’s IP address. It is not an accurate measure of unique visitors (first time to your website) as most people do not have static or fixed IP addresses. (If you have a dialup connection, a new IP address is assigned to you by your ISP every time you go online. If you have a broadband connection such as cable or DSL and have not specifically asked for a static IP address, then your IP address changes whenever you go offline or when your ISP just changes them, which it does periodically.)

It will give you an idea of how many people are viewing your site and will give you a broad overview of how you are doing.

Bandwidth – Total size of pages (or files) viewed from a web browser is measured in Kbytes and is called the bandwidth of a website. Sites with a lot of pictures or sites that allow downloads (reports, ebooks, audio files or video) will incur a significant bandwidth usage. If you operate a plain HTML site but still show an abnormally high bandwidth usage, you may need to optimize your images to make them less heavy. It is also an important statistic to look at if you have bandwidth restrictions. The stats could be shown by per year, per month, per day or per hour.

There are many more terms used when you view your stats, however rather than duplicate the entire entry here please read the full article over at Sue Studios.

For the most part, I have been relying on AWSTATS provided by my hosting company.  The problem is that they don’t seem to keep the stats up-to-date so for example when I went to check the stats for February 2008 — they were not yet there!  I had to log a ticket with the company so that they will execute the stats.

Starting February 2, 2008 I installed Google Analytics onto my site.  I used a plug-in from SEMIOLOGIC and found a great tutorial by Matt Huggins.  I’ll report my stats in mid-February comparing AWSTATS and GOOGLE ANALYTICS.



About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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