Site Traffic Analysis - Critical for your Online Success
Your Site's Stats to Measure Your Success
thing all successful businesses have in common is that they
test everything, and assume nothing. But in order to test, you
have to be able to measure results.
all, if you don't know your site's vital statistics --
also called metrics -- you won't see the danger signs until it's
too late. Plus, if you're not measuring the numbers that matter
most to your business, you could be missing huge opportunities
good news is that, with e-businesses, tracking results is a
snap. But there's a lot of conflicting and confusing information
out there about web site statistics, so in this issue, I'm going
to give you a primer on keeping a finger on the pulse of your
really know where your business is and track its health, you
need three sets of information:
sales figures, Your subscriber and customer statistics, and
Usage details from your web site. I'll assume you already have
your sales, customer, and subscriber info handy, so that leaves
us with web site usage details.
time someone requests one of your web pages and the files associated
with it (i.e. graphics, audio, banner ads, buttons, etc.) from the
server that hosts your web site, these details are recorded in a
file called a server log.
should be able to access these files from your web host,
either through their own reporting system or as raw data that
you can then analyze using your own software.
are just a few of the things your web logs can tell you:
Which search engines bring your site the most visitors.
2. What keywords visitors are using in the search engines to find
3. Which linking partners and ads are bringing you the most
4. How long your visitors are staying on your site and on
5. Which pages your visitors are most interested in.
6. Where visitors are entering -- and exiting -- your site.
7. But the truth is, some of these numbers are meaningless on their
own. After all, there are plenty of dot-coms out there who get loads
of traffic but still don't see many sales!
it's combining your site stats with your existing sales
and subscriber information that makes these metrics powerful.
Stats You Should Be Tracking
general, the most important statistics are called "conversion
rates." These are ways of measuring how successfully you are
achieving the goals of your site, such as converting curious
browsers into buyers or converting first-time buyers into repeat
likely have several conversion rates to focus on as you
guide your customers through the sales cycle, but here are some
How many visitors are you converting into customers?
Visitor-to-Customer Conversion Rate is one of the easiest
stats to gather, but also one of the most powerful. It's a quick
indication of how effectively you're convincing visitors to buy
# of visitors x 100 = Visitor-to-Customer Conversion Rate
if you get 10,000 visitors a month and 472 of them become
customers, then your conversion rate is 4.7%.
10,000 x 100 = 4.7%
How many visitors are signing up for your newsletter?
as the Visitor-to-Subscriber Conversion Rate, this metric
tells you how attractive your subscription offer is. Keep an eye
on this figure as you test different positions and copy for your
# of visitors x 100 = Visitor-to-Subscriber Conversion Rate
you get 10,000 new visitors to your site in a week and 2,730
of them subscribe to your free newsletter, then your conversion
rate is 27%.
10,000 x 100 = 27%
How many of your newsletter subscribers are becoming
Subscriber-to-Customer Conversion Rate is a good test of
how effective a sales tool your newsletter is. This is
especially important if your main product is a paid newsletter.
# of subscribers x 100 = Subscriber-to-Customer Conversion Rate
120 of your 2,730 subscribers end up buying something from
you, then your subscriber-to-customer conversion Rate is 4.4%.
2,730 x 100 = 4.4%
How much revenue are you making from each visitor?
simply, this Revenue per Visitor stat shows how much you're
earning from your average visitor. This is particularly valuable
since this number helps determine how much you can spend to
acquire a new visitor while still earning a profit.
# of visitors = Revenue per Visitor
you sold $6,000 worth of inventory this month and had 39,000
visitors to your site, you would know your revenue per visitor
is about $0.15.
39,000 = $0.15
How many people are clicking where you want them to click?
Click-through Rate shows the percentage of people who
"click through" from your salesletter to your order form
other link you want to measure).
on link x
# of visitors to page with link x x 100 = Click-through Rate
example, if you get 10,000 visitors to your salesletter, and
650 click on the link to your order form, then your salesletter
has a click-through rate of 6.5%.
10,000 x 100 = 6.5%
Stats You Should Be Tracking
the basic metrics I've covered above, there are some more
advanced measurements you should be aware of. This powerful
information will give you even more insight into your business
and ways you can bring it to the next level.
How are your customers moving through your site?
any site that has more than a page or two, this is a crucial
-- but often ignored -- set of metrics, referred to as
Clickstream. It basically involves tracking how visitors move
through your site, including where they enter, where they exit,
and what pages they view along the way.
in this category are stats like your homepage "bounce"
rate: How many visitors to your homepage leave (or "bounce")
without going any deeper into the site. If 75% of your visitors
don't click a single link off of your main entry page, you'll
need to find out why, or you're wasting valuable traffic.
clickstream will also show which pages people are leaving
your site from. For example, if more people leave the site from
your order form than any other page, you might need to assess
how "user friendly" this form is. This can be a crucial
seeing how effectively your navigation system is guiding your
visitors toward your products.
2. How much is it costing you to attract new visitors to your
Cost per Visitor (CPV) stat tells you how much it costs, on
average, to get a visitor to your site. If you're using paid
advertising, this can be a particularly valuable figure. Just
compare your cost per visitor to your revenue per visitor, and
you'll know whether or not your advertising is profitable.
# of visitors x 100 = Cost per Visitor
you spent $1,200 on a campaign and it brought 2,700 new
visitors, then your cost per visitor is $0.44.
2,700 x 100 = $0.44
How much are you paying to gain each new customer?
Cost per Customer (CPC) is a key number to track to make
sure you aren't paying more to attract each customer than you
make in profit from each sale.
# of customers x 100 = Cost per Customer
you spent $1,200 on a campaign and it brought 327 new
customers, then your cost per customer is $3.67.
327 x 100 = $3.67
Tip: Unless you have a custom-built system, you won't be
able to view all of your stats in one place, so I recommend
setting up a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, where you can plug
key sales numbers and stats into one "dashboard" to track
your key metrics over time. Once you figure out all of the
formulas, you can just type in your new details each week to
track your progress.
to Analyze Your Site Traffic
are a few basic tools to help automate how you measure
your sites performance:
your server logs is a good first step in getting hold
of some of the key information you need to measure your success.
Some web hosts already have log analysis software, which makes things
really easy. They will import your server logs into their database,
and automatically turn all of the numbers into easy-to-read reports,
graphs, and charts.
your web host doesn't offer this service, you need to ask
them for your server logs, which you can download via FTP. In
many cases, what you are going to get is raw log data -- piles
of numbers and symbols that are almost impossible to interpret!
But there are dozens of log analyzing programs out there that
will make sense of this information.
are a few of the programs that I'm familiar with:
Open Web Scope:
server logs are rich with information, they have their
limits. They can tell you how many visitors you get in a day,
for instance, but not how many are coming to your site for the
very first time. That's where ASP (application solution
provider) tracking solutions are great.
an ASP to measure your stats usually involves pasting a
onto each of your pages. When a visitor comes to your site for the
first time, they may be assigned a "cookie," which is
a small text file that records their visit.
ASP then tracks visitors through your site and provides a
web site where you can check your results. (Note: If you use an
are a few ASPs that offer tracking services. ASPs generally
charge based on the number of page views. Some offer free
versions, but require you to display a banner or small button on
each page, something you should obviously try to avoid if you
you are using software like AssocTRAC to track your affiliate
sales, then you may also use it to track the metrics behind
banner ads, text links, buttons, or any type of advertising you
pay for, including PPC campaigns down to individual keywords.
can be a powerful way to track such vital metrics as Sales
per Visitor and your conversion rates on paid advertising much
more accurately than otherwise possible. You'll be able to track
these statistics for each link into your site by assigning each
a distinct tracking number.
your results is one of the most important things you
can do to ensure that you are always increasing your profits.
After all, if you don't know what the problem is, how on earth
can you expect to fix it?
make sure the key metrics you're focusing on apply to your
site's specific needs, and continue tracking them as you test
various solutions to the problems you've identified. Of course,
numbers won't always tell you the whole story, so you may want to
consider combining these results with other sources, such as usability
studies, customer satisfaction surveys, and focus groups.
you have a custom-built ordering or database system on your
site, it may well produce data of its own, so make sure you can
capture that as well. If you've got technical resources
available to you, a simple customized solution might also
capture the specific metrics that you need to track.
businesses that do take the time to carefully track their
results are going to be the most successful, and it's for the
simple reason that they are able to fix problems as soon as they
discover them. If they find that their revenue per customer is
lower than the cost of acquiring those customers, they can
search for less expensive ways of attracting new customers while
trying to boost the amount each existing customer spends. If they're
getting lots of visits to their salesletter but not converting sales,
they can make changes to the copy right away.
is why marketing over the Internet is so exciting and so
lucrative. It is the only medium where you can measure your
success in real time, and then make changes based on what you've
learned -- all within just hours or days!
Exactly Where Your Best Customers Are Coming From!
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uncover rich metrics you won't find in your server logs!
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THE AUTHOR: Corey Rudl is the owner of four highly
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visitors per month and generate over $6.6 million each year. He
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