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Weekly Internet Promotion Articles

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Vol. 1 issue #10 Apr 30, 2002


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What Your Website Statistics Can Tell You ...
by Detlev Reimer

Do you always know what's going on at your website ?  How many unique visitors you had and which pages they looked at ?
If not , you should consult your best friend, your best colleague and your relative for everything that is related to your online business :  Your website statistics !

What do you as an Internet marketer need to know about your website ?

Number Of Hits :

A hit is not a single visitor like most people tend to believe.
It is a file that is requested from your website in order to show the page like it is intended. This means, every single picture on your webpage is a hit plus the HTML-file itself.

For example, if your index.htm file has 10 different pictures included, you would have received 11 hits to your website. If the visitor goes to a second page which has 4 pictures on it , you would have received 5 hits more, totalling 16 hits just by visiting two pages !

So the number of hits doesn't actually say anything about how many unique visitors your website had . And therefore it is the most inaccurate statement if a company says their website had 17,000 hits in a month . Often,  the expression HITS is related to as an abbreviation for "How Idiots Track Success" !



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Number Of Unique Visitors :

A visitor can be defined as one computer making requests for webpages . If this computer makes more than just one request within a period of 30 minutes (which would be the usual way...) then it still counts as one visitor even he looked at 15 different pages of your website.

With most statistics programs, the common search engines are excluded from the results. This is because they can make a significant part of the visitor total if they are included . At some days the search engines would qualify as 30-40 visitors if they were not excluded.

Favourite Pages:

Which pages have been viewed most often ? This is a question that is very relevant if it comes to developing content for your website . You will be able to determine if  your visitors really look at the pages which you consider to be the most important sections of your website.

If they do not visit those pages, you have to find a way to funnel them into the right direction by making your links more eye-catching. Then, if there are still no relevant changes, you need to analyze your visitors' behaviour in depth to see why your content is not accepted . Perhaps you will need to shift the focus of your site a bit .

Referrers :

Where do your visitors come from ? This is the most relevant question when it comes to analyzing your traffic. With these logfiles (statistics) you will be able to see if e.g. your search engine submissions were successful . Or you can see which other webpages are linking to your site.

This section "referrers" is the single most important part of your website statistics. You will be able to  analyze exactly where your traffic comes from . Consequently, you can react if you get no traffic from the search engines or from certain websites where you have advertised.

Dead URLs (not found) :

This part of your statistics gives you the possibility to look for broken links or for pages which cannot be accessed for other reasons. It is very important that you fix the pages causing these problems; you want to look professional, or not ?

One tip from me : If you have redesigned your website and certain pages have been removed, set up redirect pages to replace the removed pages. This ensures a visitor, who e.g. comes from a search engine, will not see the ugly "not found" page.
Instead , use a little refresh tag which brings him to your main site so the visitor is not lost  .....

The next time your website statistics want to tell you something, you should better listen carefully. It could save you thousands of dollars in advertising costs and could make you look much more professional !

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