Hits and visits and views? Oh my…Start talking about web traffic and people’s eye glaze over. Everyone knows traffic is important, but why exactly? And who wants to do the nerdy work of understanding it?
“It’s all a numbers game,” says Lisa Mac, Social Media Strategist for BandMark. “The more visitors you have, the more fans you will get, the more concert and merch revenue per visitor. It really is that simple.”
So…(drumroll, please) BandMark is proud to share our handy guide to web traffic – the words and the whys.
Web analytics is studying all numbers related to your site – where people are coming from, which pages they are viewing, how long they are staying. Google Analytics provides a full set of online tools, simply by paste their code into your web pages and watch the traffic go by.
This is what percent of people just… leave. They look at one page but don’t explore any more. Maybe the page takes too long to load, or the site is confusing (or ugly). If your bounce rate is greater than 60%, you should take a good look at optimizing your site.
When someone visits your web page, each different element (audio, video, graphic) gets requested from your web site. Each of these downloads is considered a hit. Since one page can have many pieces, your number of hits can be much higher than actual views or visitors.
One of the most important measurements is page views. Each time a page loads, it generates many hits but just one page view. Sites such as Alexa rank hot pages based on pages views. Check your page views to see which parts of your site are popular, and which are getting overlooked.
How do people find your site? Check your referrals to see where your visitors are coming from. Are your facebook friends showing you love, or is it a music blogger sending people your way? Pay attention to where people *aren’t* coming from – for example, a low number of referrals from Twitter could be an incentive to tweet more!
This is not quite as “unique” as it sounds. Users surfing the web from the same home network, library or school may be grouped together as a single unique visitor. Still, this number gives you a sense of how many different people are visiting your site – and which countries they are surfing from. You can also see popular times, important for contests and promotions!
A visit is generally considered up 30 minutes spent exploring your site. One unique visitor can have many visits – and that is a great compliment: your site was so cool and so interesting that they came back for more! “Repeat visitors are known as ‘sticky’ traffic,” says Lisa Mac. “These are your real fans. They are the people interested in seeing what’s new.”
Feeling smarter? Paying attention to your traffic is a great way to learn where people come from, what they look at, and how often they return. Understand your traffic to tweak your site design, so people want to connect and return. Pay attention to your referrals to learn how to promote your site. Make the most of your web investment by understanding traffic!