Knowledge is power...
Power to boost income.
Goal-of-the-DAY... Familiarize yourself with a good traffic-reporting package. Convert your Theme-Based Content Site's OUTgoing links into special tracking links (no need to do this with Site Build It! -- all links OUT are automatically created as tracking links)...
It has cost you time and money to generate your INCOMING traffic. Your OUTGOING traffic generates income for you. You can measure both... INCOME minus EXPENSES equals PROFITS.
If we stopped here, your site would be a black box. A "black box" is a concept used in physics. You can measure what goes into the black box, and you can measure what comes out of the black box... but you don't know what the heck is happening inside of that black box. In other words, you don't know why things happen.
And for your long-term success, that's critical. Why?
Because if you know more about the nature of your INCOMING and OUTGOING traffic, you can maximize your returns for every dollar and minute that you spend! Yes, that is kind of important... "critical," even.
And what do you need to know?
2) Links in
3) Links out.
Let's start peeking inside your "black box" by studying your traffic...
Traffic, of course, is your lifeblood. You need the means to do some "blood tests" to determine your site's health.
Unfortunately, all the traffic analysis packages out there are written by techies...
for techies. They give you so much data... just because they can! But all you need to know is... what you need to know! You need information, not reams of useless data.
The key to traffic analysis is to simplify. Forget the 150 different ways that traffic-analyzing software slices and dices hits, visits, pages, page views, and visitors. You simply don't need to know how many left-handed Norwegians visit your site between 3-4 AM on Sundays.
So let's prune away all the useless data, and keep just the "need to know" information...
10.1. Analyze Your "Big Picture" Traffic Stats
First, the big picture...
All traffic-reporting software packages cover the basics... average number of visits, visitors, and pages viewed per day, as well as the totals on a per-month basis. Here's what those terms mean...
- Visits -- the number of visits to your site
- Visitors -- the number of different people who visit your site (ex., a visitor could account for 10 visits)
- Page Views -- the number of pages viewed by all the visitors during all the visits. A single visitor might view only one page... or twenty.
You have a question?
"What about hits? Everyone talks about hits!"
Great question! Short answer... forget hits.
A hit is simply a line in your site's log file. If a page has 3 graphics on it, that's 4 hits (1 for the html page itself, plus 3 for the graphics). But if that same page has 100 graphics on it, that's 101 hits!
See why the number of hits is a useless stat?
"Yes, but why does everyone quote hits, then?"
Two reasons... either they don't understand the term, or they understand it and use hits because it sounds bigger! In any event, "hits" is a useless thing to measure to understand your traffic.
By comparing your monthly "big picture" data, you should be able to see steady growth in your site's overall traffic. If not, the "patient" needs a good dose of traffic-building medicine (luckily, that medicine is nearby... just above, actually!). Ongoing traffic-building is a good idea even if traffic is building nicely
-- you can never have too much!
Now that you have the big picture, it's time to delve inside and pull out some important details...
- Daily statistics -- visits, visitors and page views must be reported on a day-by-day basis, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of the total (ex., percent of total visitors). If you do a special traffic promotion on a certain day (ex., run an ad in an e-zine), a daily statistic report is an easy way to gauge the response.
- Most popular pages -- your page view stats must be delivered on a per-page basis, with the page generating the most page views reported first. By understanding which pages are most popular, you understand better the needs of your visitors. Correlate this with your link-tracking data (more on this below) to make sure that your most popular pages "get the click" to your incomegenerating programs. Also, use this data to get a better feel for what your market wants... and, just as important, what it does not want.