Analyze This! Your Web Traffic Report

What you need to know about your site's traffic to see who's been visiting

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Your Web site is an integral part of your business, and you should be measuring the effectiveness of your site on a regular basis. Make sure your Internet service provider or Web host-whoever is hosting your Web site on their server-is providing you with monthly site traffic reports.

Depending on the Web traffic tracking software they use, the report they generate could be "raw logs," which means you simply get a list of each Web page within your site and a number next to it that represents each time someone has downloaded or viewed it. What you really want to receive is more detailed traffic reports that list at least:

  • Number of visits to the site. You're not counting hits and unless you invest in special programming, you aren't counting visitors, or each individual. Your most valuable number, which is easy to obtain, is how many times people have visited your site in one month.
  • Duration of the average visit or how long an average visit lasts.
  • Page depth or how many pages the average visitor views.
  • Most frequently trafficked pages. This is usually a list of the top 10 or 20 pages on your site.
  • Most popular referrers. A list of the Web sites that refer traffic to you such as search engines or other sites that have links to your site.

Overall, you need to measure the growth of your Web traffic and the quality of that traffic in terms of time spent on your site. This information is what you can provide to potential advertisers to prove your site's worth. Happy tracking!

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.

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