Web/blog statistics make some people want to stick pins in their eyes, I know…but bear with me for just a minute, because you don’t have to love them to benefit greatly from paying just a little bit of attention to them.
The image above is a screenshot of the overview stats for one of my sites in Google Analytics. Now, I know that not everyone uses Google Analytics…and I’m not going to convince you one way or another. But I do use Google Analytics, so it’s what I have to share as an example. If you can’t stand GA, feel free to stop reading now.
Ok…here we go.
What is this telling me?
This graph shows the most basic of statistics for this site:
- How many visitors came to the site in this period?
- How many pages were viewed in this period?
- The average number of pages viewed by each visitor
- The bounce rate for the site, overall, for the period
- The average amount of time spent on the site by each visitor
- How many of the visitors were first-time visitors, rather than returning visitors?
The list above is rather self-explanatory, which the possible exception of ‘bounce rate’. So let’s talk about that for a minute.
What is ‘bounce rate’?
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page (i.e. the same page they landed on when they arrived.)
Which direction do I want these numbers to go – up or down?
- # of visitors: UP
- # of page views: UP
- page views/visit: UP
- bounce rate: DOWN
- average time spent: UP
- % first-time visits: depends on your objectives*
* A high percentage of first time visitors is normal for new sites…it’s actually what you want. As time goes on, you’ll likely want to concentrate on getting visitors to come back again and again, especially if you’re blogging, so this percentage will likely come down. This stat is best interpreted in relation to your goals and objectives, how long your site has been online, and in conjunction with other statistics
How can I use this information?
The obvious answer for this set of statistics is track your site’s growth and usage. That’s what these stats are all about. But you can go a little further than that…
For example, if your # of visits is growing (that’s the goal for most of us) and your % new visits is still high, but your bounce rate is also very high…that means you’re doing a good job of getting people to your site, but when they get there, they’re leaving as fast as they came. Now it’s time to concentrate on engaging the visitors you get and giving them reasons to stick around. You’ll know you’re getting this handled when your visits continues to grow, your page views grow, and your bounce rate decreases.
There’s a wealth of information awaiting you in your stats. It may take you some time to discern the clues hidden in the numbers, but it’s well worth the excavation!