How’s My Site Doing? Things To Watch

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I often get asked how to determine how successful a website is.   For some sites its relatively easy to determine how good/bad they’re doing.  Take an e-commerce site as an example.  In that case, you  can look at sales and very quickly determine how your site is doing.  If sales are up, you can assume your site is doing its job.  If sales are down there may be changes needed.  But what about a site that’s not selling anything or selling services?  What about if the main goal of your site is to get your brand message out there?  How can you determine how you’re doing?

Traffic Statistics

If you don’t have an analytics package for your website you’re really missing some great information.  Google Analytics is a great FREE analytics platform.  If you need help installing it on your site let us know.  

  1. Visits – the number of visits (sessions) to your website)
  2. Unique Visitors – the number of people (or more accurately computers) that visit your website.  If I went to your website from my computer twice in one day, I would be counted as 1 unique visitor who made 2 visits.
  3. Pageviews – the number of times that all pages on your website have been viewed.  If I come to your site (1 visit) and then click through 5 pages, that would be counted as 5 pageviews.  
    Note that if I refresh a page that will be counted as another pageview.

Site Rankings

There are quite a few sites out there that provide site rankings.  You’ll want to make sure that you understand what the ranking actually means for the site you’re referring to.

  1. Alexa – http://www.alexa.com/ – Possibly the most well known traffic ranking site, Alexa shows where you site is ranked based on traffic to it.  They also provide a Top Sites list which pretty cool if you want to know what’s the most heavily viewed site on the web. (It’s almost always Google or Facebook). Note that in order for a visit to your site to be counted, the visitor needs to have a the Alexa Toolbar (or an associated plugin) installed on their browser.
  2. Google PageRank – PageRank (actually named after Google co-founder Larry Page) is an algorithm that is used (in part) to determine how well your site ranks within Google search results.  There are quite a few factors that go into determining what your Google PageRank is.  Click here for further details.
  3. Pages Indexed & Backlinks – these are the number of pages that an engine (like Google) knows about and the number of links BACK to your site from another site respectively.  If you’re Firefox user here’s a link to a great add-on that will show you this information: click here.

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Traffic Sources

Where is your traffic coming from?  Why should you care?  Regardless of what kind of business you’re in, the more relevant traffic you’re getting the better the results are going to be.

  1. Search Engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.  These are people that are going to an engine, typing in a search term and going to your site based on the results.
  2. Direct Traffic – these are people who open up a browser, type your site’s URL and go directly to your site without coming from another site.  (People who have your site bookmarked would also be included in this number).
  3. Referring Sites – these people have clicked on a link to your site from another site on the web.  Building up good quality backlinks (links to your site) weighs heavily in your search engine rankings.

Conclusion

There are quite a few factors that should go into determining how well your site is doing.  You should be looking at many different items and keeping track of them on a regular basis.  Don’t put too much stock into a single metric but take a look at the overall picture of where you’re getting traffic from and what type of traffic it is.  If you’d like some help determining where your traffic is coming from or growing your site traffic please contact us – we”re happy to help!

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