Most web hosts provide a free statistics program. If you’re unsure if your host offers one give your host a call and ask. Website statistics are a good way to track your website’s growth and learn more about your visitors.
One website statistic that I always look at is page views. A page view is a person looking at one page of your website. For instance you’re looking at this page. That’s one page view. If you click on the “Home” button at the top of the page you’d go to the home page. That would be another page view.
Take a look at your page views and see if you can spot trends. Are certain days or months more popular? Do your page views go up after you send out a newsletter?
Many statistic programs report the number of hits to a website. I find this statistic to be meaningless and confusing.
Take a look at this page. Do you see my company logo on the left? Below that there are photos for the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and PayPal. Each of those photos count as a “hit”. So that’s three hits for this one page. But wait, there’s more! The code on the page is broken out into several different files. Each one of those counts as a hit. And look at the top of this page. Do you see my company name and email at the very top of the page? Those count as hits too. So for my site there are about 12 hits per page. What does that tell us? It tells us nothing. Ignore hits and look at page views instead.
Visits are an interesting website statistic. OK, you’re here looking at this web page. Say you click around and look at a few more pages while you’re here. That’s a visit. Then maybe you come back a week from now and look around some more. That will be two visits.
You can track this number and look for trends just as you did with page views.
Page Views Per Visit
Some stats packages give you this figure. You can also derive it yourself by dividing the page views for a certain time period by the corresponding number of visits. That will tell you how much people look around once they get to your site. With a blog you might have regular visitors that come to your site and just look at the home page. If you have an eCommerce site you’d want to see more page views per visit as people examine your wares and hopefully buy something.
In future weeks I’ll post more about website statistics, but this should get you started.