Your website’s health

How well is your website performing? If someone asked you that question today, would you know the answer, or would you know even how to find out that information, and if so, what information is important to know?

Well, today’s lesson is about the number one mistake made by clients. “How many hits did my site get?”

What they are really asking is how many people came to my site, which itself isn’t really the most important question, but that is for another post.

The mistake they are making is in the term “hit.” Here we need a bit of technical explanation:

A Hit represents a request to your web site for a file such as an image, a html page, or a script. One web page may contain several related resources, and as a result, a visitor viewing one web page may trigger several hits. So this means that the amount of “hits” is next to useless criteria for judging how well your site is performing. The two more beneficial stats they are really looking for are page views and visits (which itself is split into two versions)

A Page View is a successful request for a file on your web site that is considered to be a page. These usually mean files with extensions such as .html, .cfm, .asp, etc. It will tell you how many pages have been viewed.

Visits represent the total number of times people have visited your web site. A visit is counted whenever a web site user requests one or more files from the web server. If the user becomes idle for more than a certain amount of time (usually 20 minutes), a new visit is generated when they come back. This is important because you can then determine unique visitors and find out facts like how many first time visitors, how many people came back, etc.

Now if you combine these two basic reports you get a very useful new statistic: Pages per Visit, telling you on average how many pages a user visits when they go to your site.

The good news for DDA clients is that we provide multiple reports to our clients, and more importantly, the expertise to understand and act on the information they provide.

Coming tomorrow… The son of Pages/Visit : The Bounce Rate