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How to Analyze Your Web Site Traffic

By Herman Drost
Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Getting traffic to your web site without analyzing it, is like
being blindfolded in a crowd. You hear voices, but you don’t
know which direction they are coming from or who they are.
Without analyzing your web site traffic, it’s difficult to
improve your web site marketing.

Know Your Traffic Language
You should be aware of the different terms used to describe
web site traffic, so as not to be confused about your web site
visitors. Here are the main terms used:

Visit – these are all requests made by a specific user to the
site during a set period of time. The visit is ended if a set
period of time (say 30 minutes) goes by with no further
accesses. Users are identified by cookies, username or
hostnames/ip addresses.

Hit – this is a request to the server for a file not a page.
Your page can be made up of different files, such as graphic
files, audio files or css and javascript files, resulting in a
number of hits for that page. Each of these requests is called a
hit.

Counting hits is not the same as tracking pageviews. It takes
multiple hits to view a page.

Pageview/Impression – this is the number of times a page is
accessed as a whole.

Unique View - A page view by a unique person within a 24 hour
period.

Referrer - A page that links to your site. By looking at your
referrers will tell you who's linked to your site. This can be
particularly valuable for seeing where your search engine
traffic is coming from.

User Agent - This refers to the software used to access your
site. Sometimes known as a "browser" or "client", the term user
agent can describe a PHP script, a browser like Internet
Explorer, or a search engine spider like GoogleBot. If you can
identify what software is being used to access your site, you'll
be able to tell if users are abusing it, and when the search
engines last crawled your pages.

In Part 2 of this article series we'll look at some of the ways to
track your web site visitors.

About the Author
Herman Drost is a Certified Web Site Designer (CIW), owner and
author of iSiteBuild.com
Affordable Hosting, Site Design and Promotion Packages
(http://www.isitebuild.com)

Subscribe to his “Marketing Tips” newsletter for more original
articles. mailto:subscribe@isitebuild.com. Read more of his
in-depth articles at: (www.isitebuild.com/articles)