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Understanding Website Statistics: Part 2

Monthly stats graph
In my first post, I covered four basic components found in most statistics software. In this post, we will examine them more closely and also take a look at some more specific stats. An important way to gauge your website’s success is to look at the daily breakdown of those four components: number of visits, pages, hits, and bandwidth. Your graph may show certain days as having spikes, much higher than others. Find out what you did on that day and what content you posted.

Your statistics will also tell you which days of the week and hours of the day were the prime times for site visitors. Next, take a look at the breakdown of visitors by country. Hopefully, the country of your target audience will be first. If not, you might need to reevaluate your language policy and cultural references in your content.

You should have a section for “hosts”, including “top 25” and “full list”. This is very important if you suspect security problems. Normally, you will have a few ip addresses with more hits than others, but if you have one or two that are extremely large compared to the others, you might have an attacker or someone attempting to attack.

“Robots/Spiders” visitors will tell you how often search engines and other robots (like Alexa and Netcraft) are visiting your site. “Visits duration” will tell you how long people typically stay on your site. Remember, you want them to stay longer. “File type” tells you what type of files are accessed most frequently and how much bandwidth they consume.

“Pages-URL” will tell you which pages on your website get visited the most. This is important. If a certain page is visited frequently, you might consider making more pages like it. “Operating Systems” tells you what systems your visitors are running, and “Browsers” tells you the web browsers they are using. “Referrers” is another important one. From it you can determine how people get to your site. Is it primarily through search engines, bookmarks, or links from others sites?

Finally, “Search Keyphrases” and “Search Keywords” tells you what people searched for to get to your site. This helps both with advertising and targeting content. All of these statistics are important, and together they can help you piece together the state of your site and what you can do to improve its performance and increase the number and quality of visitors.

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