If you have just established a web page for your home-based business, you may have trouble understanding web traffic. It's important to educate yourself about the traffic your web site receives so you can track trends, target your audience better, or even just simply fix broken links or lackluster pages. While it may seem like there is too much information to even process, you should keep tabs on the following 10 statistics:
1. Number of Visitors
This is just a general count of the number of visitors your web site attracts.
2. Average Number of Page Views per Visitor
This statistic will tell you how many of your pages, on average, a typical visitor views.
3. Domain Classes
This statistic gives you the IP address information of each visitor. An IP address is a unique number assigned to computers and networks. This will tell you which networks are most frequently attracted to your site.
4. Busiest Times
This will help you track which time of day or night your web site is busiest. This can help you identify your audience; for example, other WAHMs will probably log on at night after the kids are in bed.
5. Average Visit Duration
You can determine how long the average visitor spends browsing your site, which can help you determine whether or not you are capturing and keeping your customer's interest.
6. Average Page Duration
You can take the average visit duration one step further by determining how long a visitor spends on each page of your web site. This will help you figure out which pages are holding a customer's interest.
7. Most Requested Page
Simply put, this is the most popular page on your site. "Most requested" means that, of all your pages, this one in particular is in highest demand by your customers.
8. Most Requested Entry Page
You can take the most requested page to another level and see which page draws the most outside visitors into your site. This can be your home page--or it can be another page that draws in customers. For example, if you have a custom t-shirt company and design a vampire t-shirt, the vampire t-shirt page may become your most requested entry page during Halloween.
9. Most Requested Exit Page
On the flip side of the most requested entry page, you can also track which page loses your customers, causing them to exit your site. This is especially helpful in identifying broken links, bad pages, and the like.
10. Top Paths
The top path refers to the route visitors take in viewing your site. Do they enter on the home page and go directly to your inventory? What route do most customers take before making a final purchase? This will help you figure out if your web site needs streamlining. It's also another way to track trends, popularity, and even boring pages that lose customer interest.
A bonus trend to track? Referrals. This information will help you discover where customers are linking from--search engines such as Yahoo!, or other websites.
If this information seems overwhelming, keep in mind that there are freeware services available, such as Google Analytics, GoStats or AWStats, that compile this information for you. Some of them can even help you interpret the results or track trends. It's worth your time and effort to track these statistics, as they can really help you in discovering your customer base.
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.