If you had a website built through Smart Author Sites in the last few years, then you should be receiving a Google Analytics report on the 1st of each month with your website traffic numbers. Even if you built your author site elsewhere, you may be checking up on your site traffic report regularly.
But what do the numbers mean? How should an author – a master of words – know how to interpret all those facts and figures?
First, since I’m writing this post in August, I feel the need to start with a caveat. Chances are, if you received a site traffic report recently, you were disappointed. Your numbers probably went down from May to June and again from June to July. But don’t despair! Just as TV watching decreases in the summer (hence, so few new shows), so does internet usage. It’s common knowledge that the nicer the weather, the more people want to spend time outdoors instead of in front of the computer. So it’s totally normal for your site traffic to slow down this time of year. Odds are it will pick up again in September.
Now, onto what your stats really mean….
- Visits, Unique Visitors and Pageviews: People often get confused by these three things. So here’s the scoop: “Unique visitors” refers to the number of individuals (okay, computers), who visited your site. This will undoubtedly be the lowest number of the three. Then there’s “visits,” which is the number of times people visited your site. So if 100 unique visitors visited your site an average of 2 times in a month, they would show up as 200 visits. And “pageviews” refers to the number of pages on your site that were viewed. So if those 100 visitors (who each visited twice) looked at an average of 5 pages each time they visited your site, your number of pageviews would be 1,000. Get it?
- When People Visit: Another important stat to look at is when you got your traffic. Try to figure out if there’s a correlation between the days when your numbers where the highest and any marketing efforts that took place. If you sent out an email blast, that could boost your traffic on a particular day. Same thing if you did a radio show. But by figuring out what triggers a rise in site traffic, you can know which marketing efforts are working.
- Traffic Sources: This is another hugely important statistic. It basically tells you how people found your website. Generally, traffic sources fit into three categories: the people who manually typed in your URL; the people who found your site through Google, Yahoo, etc…; the people who got to your site through a link on another site, often known as a referral. Another nifty thing to do is to delve deeper into the actual keywords that people who ended up on your site through search engines actually searched for.
- Top Content: This is how you can find out exactly what people are looking at on your website. Review the top 5-10 pages listed as “most visited.” Your homepage will undoubtedly be #1. But you may be surprised to see #2, #3, etc… By figuring out what people are most interested in on your website, you can then make smart decisions about which sections of your site to spend the most time keeping current.
All these statistics are fun and interesting. But they’re also important! Because by knowing who’s visiting your site, where they came from, and what they’re looking at, you have the information you need to determine what’s working, what’s not, and where your efforts should be focused going forward.
Ready to talk with us about building or marketing your author website? Contact us today for a free consultation!