Monday, June 26, 2006

Learning about Stat Counters

I’ve been on a reading and learning kick the past couple days. Since this blog is about the trials and adventures of starting an online store I am assuming some people reading it are interested in doing that, so I invite you to learn along with me about statcounters:

Increase Your Site Traffic By Knowing Your Stats
Be honest, when was the last time you looked at your website statistics? If you're like most webmasters it's probably been a while. If so, you're missing out on a goldmine of information. By measuring and analyzing your website statistics, you can learn a lot about your site and the people who visit it.
How are site statistics gathered?
A hit is produced when any file is served. The web page itself is considered one file, as are any images. Therefore, if a page has five images, it could generate six hits.
Sometimes, web traffic is measured by packet sniffing. Usually a software program can interrupt and monitor traffic passing over a digital network.
As data passes back and forth over the network, the sniffer captures each packet and eventually deciphers and examines its content according to the appropriate specifications. All the data that the sniffer captured is recorded and included in the web traffic analysis.
What information can your site stats give?
* The average number of page views per visitor. This tells you how good your site is at encouraging people to click around. Lots of page views means visitors are finding something of interest and they'll be more likely to return - and they'll hopefully bring their friends!
* Average visit duration. Another indicator of how useful visitors find your site. If they spend a lot of time it means they're genuinely interested in what you offer.
* When people visit. Knowing the most popular days and times can give you insight into who your customers are. If most of your visitors occur during the day then chances are people are browsing while at work. Knowing the habits of your visitors will help you find ways to target them. It can also help you decide when you're best to run advertising and even schedule site maintenance.
* The most popular pages. Work on optimizing your most popular pages for the search engines, using them as advertising campaign landing pages or starting a PPC campaign for them. They must be popular for a reason and will be a good way to entice potential customers to visit your site.
* Most requested exit pages. Unless the most frequently used exit page is your "thanks for ordering" page, you have a hole in your site that visitors are slipping through. Figure out why they're leaving from this page and you'll be able to improve your conversions.
*Referring sites and search engines. Knowing where your traffic is currently coming from can help you determine where to focus your traffic generation efforts. Look for ways to get even more traffic from your best sources - and don't waste time on the ineffective ones.

* Keywords used to find your site. If visitors are finding you through the search engines, it's invaluable to know what keywords and phrases they're using. Use these keywords when writing content for your site or planning a PPC campaign since you already know they generate traffic.
The author of the above article is Gabor Olah:

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