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Usage Statistics: Key Metrics to Watch on Your Website

Some of you out there might be wondering why I would write an article on usage statistics. Quite honestly, you can find some really interesting stuff if you dig deep enough in your web server logs. If...

Some of you out there might be wondering why I would write an article on usage statistics. Quite honestly, you can find some really interesting stuff if you dig deep enough in your web server logs. If you are serious about making money online, or you want to drive more traffic to your website you must understand where visitors are going and for how long. In this article we will be reviewing what you should be looking at in your website logs and the usage statistics you should be paying attention to.

First off a brief introduction..If you are new to hosting your own website or you are new to managing a website, you might want to familiarize yourself with your website analytics tool. Your website hosting company should offer a website statistics tool like AWSTAT for you to view your logs in a user friendly way. The data is very cryptic if you don’t have a viewer to look at the data in a well formatted, and human readable format. The first thing you should do is get familiar with the interface and make sure you at least have access to your web server logs.

Ok, now that you have access to the logs and a good viewer to view the statistics you are ready to start looking at your usage statistics. The first metric that is probably very obvious is the number of unique vistors that have visited your website for any given day, month, and year. This is valuable because it shows you how many “unique” people visited your website from advertising, pay per click, searching the web, or print materials that have your website. Don’t confuse “hits” with unique visitors. This is a common mistake. Unique visitors tells you how many individuals visited your website. The number of hits you receive tells you how many different pages and or objects were visited on your website. The goal obviously is to drive the number of unique visitors up on your site.

The second key statistic to look at on your website usage logs are what pages are being frequented the most on your website. Typically your log viewer will be able to show you the number of hits that each page has received on your website. This is important because it tells you how popular and relevant each page is for your visitors. You might notice that users are ending up on a page that you thought would not be very popular. These trends can give you valuable information about how your website is used. You can then take this information and make changes to your website to make it easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for faster.

The third key area to look at is the amount of time each visitor spends on average at your website. Obviously the longer the better. If you have something valuable to say, they will stick around longer. If you notice that users are leaving your website in one to five seconds you might want to make some changes to you front page. Ask yourself if you were visiting your website for your given topic would you stick around? This is key..You must have relevant content to keep your visitors around.

The fourth key metric to look at is the referring pages to your website. These are important because it can show you where your traffic is getting referred from. If you are getting traffic from a partner or search engine, it might tell you that you should increase those efforts to increase your unique visitors. In closingFree Reprint Articles, there are many more website usage statistics that are valuable for running a website. Hopefully these tips were helpful to get you started.

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Matt D Murren owns and operates Usage Statistics

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