your Website Performance
One of the most under-rated aspects of any Website business is
in its statistical data, or more accurately, it's owner's ability
to interpret that data.
Among the myriad of information that your web host (or stats manager)
can provide you with, none of it actually provides real value at
all given times.
Let me explain...
Here is a real life example of one local accommodation website
and their statistics as of the time of writing this article. It's
a relatively new website, and has had some modifications progressively
done to it over the past few
First up, the one piece of data that almost everyone knows about
is Page Views.
Page Views provide you with a quick picture of your overall traffic.
When you compare this information with previous weeks or months
it's a good snapshot - nothing more. However, Unique Visitors are
more important because they represent the actual number of different
people who have
viewed your site's pages, rather than repeat visitors, within the
same day, same week, and with disregard to how many pages any Unique
Visitor visits on your site.
In practical terms, the Demo Site that I am using here has had
2610 Page Views so far this month, but only 1171 Unique Visitors
- which means that each visitors has viewed an average of 2 - 3
What does that mean?
This Website only has five pages, so based on these numbers we
can ascertain that only its visitors view half of those pages. With
this information at hand, before we do any work on the site, we
need to first see which pages are being viewed.
Using the Entry Pages report we are able to see that 85% of all
visitors this month so far arrived on the main page. This alone
is an interesting fact as it tells us that the site is receiving
search engine traffic to the other pages because there is simply
no other way to find them otherwise. It also tells us that the content
of the main page may need to be modified if people are not going
deeper into the site.
So how do we find that out? We go into the Exit Pages report. Here
(in our demo site) we find that 73% of visitors are leaving from
the main page. First up, that does not look too good. Could it be
that once people arrive on this site that they don't like it at
Finally, to determine this, we need to view the Single Access Pages
report - and it this case - yes, it is bad news. 68% of all visitors
to this site are arriving on the main page and then leaving again.
Here is the question that we need to ask: What is it about the
main page that people don't like? (And the question I ask to you
- Do you even know how many people arrive on your main page and
then leave again?)
The next tactical piece of information I would want to know here
is, what is bring them to the site. Are they qualified customers,
or are they kids looking for games to play?
Checking the Search Engine Keywords report, we were able to ascertain
that just over 25% of all their traffic this month had come from
15 different search engines, through a combination of over 100 different
keyword search phrases. That alone is not enough to determine the
problem here. All of these people were targeted customers. However,
also using the Referring Website Domains report we could see that
a whopping 68% of all visitors came from a recent email marketing
Ah Ha! Now, we are getting to the meat of it. Speaking with the
owner I was able to determine that in the previous week they had
placed an ad about a few limited available rooms they still had
available for let January, at the end of the School Holidays. The
ad had gone out to almost 1200 people (opt in subscribers of a local
tourism Website) and 673 of those people had clicked on their URL
(a massive 56% response), wanting to look over their available holiday
And guess what was on the main page? Yep - the details of a limited
offer 7-night package.
So right now we've gone a complete circle. We knew that there must
have been something wrong with the main page (in fact we actually
knew exactly what it was in advance), but the exercise had allowed
me to explain to you in finer details just how you should be looking
to evaluate and interpret your own Website statistics.
What if you were not running a targeted campaign for a special
offer? How about if these were the results on any normal given week?
As a closing thought - the first thing I'd want to know is this:
Time Spent on Site.
Before making major changes to your website content, you need to
determine if people are reading / viewing it or not. Using the above
example, 51% of visitors to this site in the past two weeks have
stayed between 1 - 5 minutes. Good or bad?
A bit of both.
We'd like people to stay onsite for more than five minutes, but
with only five pages, that's not going to happen unless you have
a very long sales letter up front. So that's the good part. The
bad part is only 38% of these visitors invested the time to actually
read the home page sales information. The rest just left.
If this were your website, you'd now have to decide how best to
service those 38%. Do that, and you'll strike gold.
So back to the title: How well do you understand your Websites
About the Author
Paul Barrs - http://www.paulbarrs.com
Have you listened to the "Internet Marketing Mastery"
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