No matter who hosts your website, it’s almost certain that you have access to your website traffic report. These reports can tell you a LOT about your customer and who is visiting your web site IF you know how to read them. Here’s a quick less on how to decipher them…
Hits V. Unique Visitors
Its’ been said that “hits” is short for “How Idiots Track Sales.” That’s because “Total Hits” is a deceptive number: it counts every single graphics file, style sheet, and script a visitor pulls for each page. A single visitor on a single page could easily pull a dozen files or more.
The only number you should watch is “unique visitors” or “unique referrers.” This is your best indicator of how many individual people are actually visiting your site.
If your number of unique visitors is extremely low, you’re probably not marketing your website properly; but it could also be a sign of a technical issue. Occasionally a site is so far off the beaten path that it’s never been indexed by the search engines. Sites built in Flash or that use images instead of text are also difficult for search engines to index and, therefore, will get very low rankings and traffic.
Your reports should give you a list of web browsers your clients are using when coming to your site. Most people use a recent version of Internet Explorer, but you may also see Firefox, Safari, or older versions of IE. Bottom line, you need to make sure your site works in all the browsers being used by your visitors.
Have you ever heard the term “website conversion?” It’s a measure of whether a visitor has done what you wanted them to do on your site. A conversion can be a purchase, an enrollment to your company’s e-zine, or a completed “contact us” form.
If the most popular exit pages correspond to your conversion pages, congratulations! If not, take a closer look. Why are people leaving? There may be a technical issue, a bad headline (or no headline), no offer, slow-loading graphics, or confusing copy. Something on this page is making your visitors leave abruptly.
Maybe it’s not clear where they should go next, or how to find out what they need to know. A few departures are expected, but if there’s a trend, you must address it. Experiment with various headlines, offers and designs until you find something more successful.
Keywords and Keyword Phrases
Keywords and keyword phrases are a list of words people type into search engines to find you.
This is very important information to have because it will allow you to further optimize your website to attract customers AND help you when using pay-per-click search engine marketing.
Browse this list regularly. If the words and phrases are not ones aligned with what you sell or whom you sell to, try changing the content on your site to be more targeted and specific.
Check out the error list from time to time to make sure you aren’t experiencing any technical issues. The most frequent error you’ll find is a “404” code, which means “document not found”—also known as broken links.
Broken links are caused by deleted pages, new page names, or links to other sites that may no longer exist. These errors should be corrected to keep your site current.
Another good tip is to have a custom “404” page that shows up instead of the stock standard “file not found” page that contains your company name, phone number, and a way to report the problem. Your web master can set this up for you.