Understanding website traffic statistics is generally hard for the average person as it seems to be such a technical topic. Lets try and simplify it all. Only three things really matter in website traffic statistics: visitors, goals, and referrals. Let’s look at each one separately.
Website Traffic Stats: Visitors
Visitors are the people (or humans) who view your page. Typically they’re unique visitors per day. That means each person who visits your website from a particular Web browser on a particular computer is only counted once per day.
Visitors per month is usually the number of unique visitors per day times the number of days in the month. That means a loyal audience of 1,000 visitors which visits your site every day will look like 30,000 visitors in your monthly website traffic stats.
Visitors are the most quoted stats, but they’re not the most important stats. I always say that more traffic can sometimes mean less money. So what matters most is how many of the right type of visitors you get. For that, you need to track goals.
Website Traffic Statistics: Goals
Google Analytics and some other website traffic stats software lets you track user activity on your site to find out which visitors perform specific actions on your website. It calls these actions, “goals”.
If you run an advertisement-based website, you goal is to get visitors to click your ads. If you run an affiliate or product-based website, your goal is to get visitors to buy products. If you run a mailing list-based website, your goal is to get
All of these goals can be tracked so you can see not just how many raw visitors you have, but how many of them perform the desired action. Even more important, you can use another part of your website traffic stats to see where these visitors came from—that is, who referred them.
Website Traffic Stats: Referrals
On most sites, most visitors are a bust. They don’t earn you any money. They don’t click ads, buy products, or subscribe to lists. But there are a few exceptions—a few visitors who do meet your goals, visitors we call customers.
Your job is to find the difference between customers and non-customers. Often the major difference is who sent the customers to your site.
Every time you click a link on the Web using a non-private browser, your Web browser sends the location of the last page you visited to the page you’re currently loading. This is called a referral. For example, if you search for “example” on Google, you’ll be on a page with a URL like “google.com/search?q=example”. When you click on a link to example.com, your browser will tell example.com that you came from the page “google.com/search?q=example”.
Your website traffic stats collects all of the referral information from the people who visit your site and adds it up. More importantly, it also lets you filter the results by only the visitors who completed the goal action—your customers.
You may receive 50% of your traffic from Google—but you may also discover that 90% of you customers come from blog referrals. If that’s the case and you continue trying to improve your Google rank, you’ll be wasting 90% of your effort. That is one way of fighting the 80/20 rule of internet marketing, cut out the work that does not produce results and stick to the stuff that does.
There are other sections in your statistics, but you’ll get the most benefit from visitor, goal, and referral website traffic stats.