Tracking and Analysis
Making sense of website tracking data
Website traffic: Tracking and analysisUse the log files generated by your web host or tracking service for your website traffic analysis. Study the actions of visitors entering your website and how they interact with your content. By doing this you can see the effects of your optimization efforts as well as the areas of your website that are most interesting to the people visiting you. Learn how to interpret your tracking data. It is key to understanding how well your website is functioning and it's health on the internet.
The statistics generated by tracking services are important tools for monitoring the number and actions of the people entering your website. By using this information you can see the volume of visitors coming into your site and tailor your content to suit them. This data is also a big help to you in achieving the maximum effect with your website optimization efforts. Below I have provided a checklist of how you should break down your tracking data and interpret what you find.
Website tracking statistics
Page views (content quality)This is an excellent measure of the quality of your content. It reveals the number of times a webpage is accessed by visitors to your site. It is an indicator of the quality of the material presented on the page. In other words, the more views a page receives the better it's content is perceived by the people who are visiting your website.
By reviewing this data you will often find that there are some webpages that are outperforming others. Capitalize on this information by expanding on the subject matter incorporated in these top performing pages. Elaborate on the material covered there by adding more pages covering the same area of information. These pages are also an excellent place to put links to related sections of your website.
Visits (unique visitors)This metric indicates the entrance of one person into your website. It dosen't matter how long they stay on your site or how many pages they view while they are there. Every new visitor is logged as an unique visit. The number of unique visits show the raw amount of traffic your website is receiving from the web. Watching this data will help you spot any fluctuations in your traffic flow.
Average number of pages per visit (visitor dwell time)The higher the number of average page views your website receives the better. When a visitor navigates through your site they leave a trail of page views and the longer they stay the more page views they will likely generate. Applied across the total of all visits to your site an average number of page views is thus produced.
You want to keep your average number of page views as high as possible. Try to maintain a growing number of average page views. A healthy website usually generates about 4 page views per visit. If you notice a drop in average page views it is time to rethink and possibly redesign your site by modifying it's contents.
Referring pages (referring websites)This metric is important because it tells you from what internet addresses your visitors are coming. It also tells what websites are linked to your site as well as which search engines are including your site in their search results. These factors are invaluable when analyzing the demographics of your target audience and when you are evaluating the extent of your footprint on the Web.
Browsers usedThis data tells you which types of browsers your visitors are using. It helps you understand how to design your webpage layout so that it will display properly and present your material to the best advantage. Webpages can display differently in individual browsers so it should be your task to design a layout that is effective across all types of internet browsers.