As web usage has been increasing throughout the years, even if you don’t own a personal website, you most probably own a blog. Having a website without being able to track the number of visits and where they’re coming from is almost like putting your site to waste.

Here’s a quick one explaining the basic terms of web statistics so you can better appreciate the use of it. Keep in mind that the terms used by various web statistic services might differ a little from each other. Some might refer to “Unique visitors” as “New visitors” or “Referrers” as “Traffic sources” etc. But they share similar meanings.

Web Statistics & their terms

Unique Visits
Your web counter logs your users IP addresses. When a user visits your site, your web counter will log him/her as 1 unique visit. Even if the user returns to your homepage, or refreshes your site 10 times for example, your web counter still logs it as 1 unique visit. Unique visitor logs are much more accurate in recent times with broadband access, as your IP address won’t change too frequently unless you’re still sing 56k dial-ups where your IP address changes each time you connect to the internet.

Page Views
This is the number of times your website has been accessed at any page the web statistics code has been pasted into. This number does not take into account the user’s IP address. If the user accesses your website 10 times, the number of page views logged is 10. If the user accesses your your site’s homepage once, viewing 10 pages, the number of page views logged is 11.

Most advertisers are interested in this figure as this is a basic measure of the number of impressions their advertisements will get if they advertise on your site.

Returning Visits
This measures your “visitor’s loyalty”. The more popular your site is, the higher the number. One of the most important factor when measuring a blog, as this shows how interested your user is that makes them check your site again for new content.

My favourite part of web statistics is referrers, or your traffic sources. Who is linking you? Who loves you? Where does your visitor come from? Referrers shows you the links so that you can check out the site and see what they’re saying about your site.

As a part of the crucial factors of SEO (search engine optimization), being linked up at as many other sites ranks your site higher in search engines. This is also a measure of the “link worthiness” of your website.

Search Keyword
This is an analysis of how users discover your site, which keyword they use and which search engine. Perfect for your SEO efforts, as you’ll know which keyword is the most popular. You’ll also get an idea of how successful your SEO efforts are, for example if you’re selling wine and when a user search for “wine” on google, your site appears at the number one position, this shows that your SEO efforts is applaudable. Congrats. You don’t have to pay for search engine advertising anymore. When this happens prepare to hire more employees to handle your surge in business leads.

Search keyword numbers also contributes to your unique visitors numbers.

Browsers / Operating System / Screen Resolutions / Flash Versions / Java Support
As you can tell these are very straightforward, the stats tells you which browsers, OS, resolutions, flash player versions, are the most popular these days, and also if their computers have java support.

If you look at screen resolutions for example you’ll realize that 800×600 resolutions does not appear at the first few most used screen resolutions anymore, who needs tiny screens when they can have large screens at a cheap price today (2008). The most popular screen resolution now is 1024×768, which is also a basis of the websites we create today.

Shows you which countries your website has been viewed from and which countries loves your site more. If you’re doing a global business, only having hits locally means you have to re-think about your marketing efforts.

There are more kinds of other statistics that different web statistics services measure, some even measure which links on your website has been clicked, or if you own a blog, what search terms they use to search within your blog.

Free and Great Web Statistic Services

We recommend Statcounter, it’s free and gives you comprehensive statistics about your website, most importantly they don’t force you to append their logo on your site to have your site tracked, as compared to other free statistic services. Even sows you a Google Map of where your visitors comes from. The only catch is they make revenue through advertisements, so be prepared to see ads on your stats account.

One other service you can consider is Google Analytics, free, no ads and also is an invisible counter. Wide variety of information you can see about your side, even works with Google Adwords. If you use Adwords, Google Analytics is perfect as you’ll be able track your conversion rates (how your ad dollars converts to revenue). The only thing about Google Analytics is that it might be too overwhelming for first time users.

Both sites gives you the basics of web statistics including other bells and whistles. It’s up to your personal or business preference, try them to see which one works better for you, or you can even use both on one website.

Hope you have a better understanding about web statistics after this post. :)

About hex:

Hex is an interactive web design boutique that creates beautiful and well executed interactive websites.

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3 Responses to “Website Statistics Explained”

  1. edi says:

    Useful article. Thx

  2. Ben says:

    Glad you find it useful. :)

    Ben’s last blog post..SUBERNOVA Launched!

  3. Burt Hayes says:

    I love to read articles that are informative, Thanks again for a nice site


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