Website Statistics – What the Numbers Really Mean


“You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” My business mentor drilled that phrase into my head until I got sick of it. However, he was right, especially when it came to measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Unlike many other advertising channels, the results of online marketing can be measured very accurately. But you have to know how to interpret the data. In this video, I explain Internet Statistics in plain English and show you how to interpret these numbers in ways that will strengthen your business!

Links in this Video

  1. Google Analytics


Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice! Hey I’m Eric Spellmann with EricSpellmann.com and today we’re going to talk about website statistics, what those numbers really mean? I’m not going to bury you in a bunch of lingo. And if there is a little bit of lingo, I’m going to explain what it is and why it’s important.
Keep in mind that looking at your web statistics is key. Now some of you are going Oh Eric, that’s so much technical. I don’t wanna understand it. I just want to know that I’m getting traffic. Well there’s so much more to it that you can get, and it is so critical that you understand it.

One thing I always tell people, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure!” Remember that. If you don’t know what your traffic is doing on your site or where they’re going, you don’t know how to apply things. You don’t know how to make changes. You don’t know where to put more emphasis. So remember, you’ve got to understand what these numbers mean.

Customers will tell you what’s important to them. You may think you know what they want on your website. You may think you know what the most popular page is, or where they coming from or what they’re searching for, but the numbers can tell you for sure. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised by what people are going to.

I mean heck even these videos! The videos that I think are going to be blockbuster are sometimes overshadowed by the ones that I thought “Oh this is not going to be as exciting a topic.” And then it just goes crazy. Sometimes you are just not sure what people are going to connect to. The numbers can show you!

My favourite way to measure analytics, and by the way analytics is just one of those words. It’s a high dollar word for statistics. Okay. So when you hear me say analytics, all I mean is web statistics, you know the numbers behind what’s going on.

My favorite is Google. One of the reasons I like it is because it is totally free. I mean you have to setup a Gmail account but basically that’s free too. To get to it, just go to analytics.google.com. and theres a video that will explain it to you. But I’m going to tell you basically what you need to do in this video.

And by the way, we install this for our customers. All the new sites we’re creating now, we’re automatically putting it in. And as customers request it, or as we talk to those customers again from some of our older sites, we’re putting that code in too.

Step number one: If you’re going to be setting up Google Analytics is Google wants to know that yes you are the person in-charge of that site. And the way they ask you to prove that is it wants you to make a change to the site that only the owner can make. I mean, think about it, only the owner has the password to make a change, an update to the site.

So you need to make a small update to your site which Google can detect. And if your webmaster is the one who does that, you’ll need to contact him and coordinate with them to make sure this works. Now remember, if you’re one of our customers, we do this for free. And we get it installed for you and take care of it.

So then you install the code. Once you’ve proven to Google that yes you are the legitimate owner, a person who should be able to see the statistics for a site. Then it’s time to install the code. Now many times, you will need your webmaster, the person who updates your website to do this. Because basically, Google will give you a small piece of code and it looks like gibberish!

It’s HTML. And it’s gotta be installed on every single page of your site. That way, when someone looks at that site and pulls up that page, Google kind of gets “pinged” and it can gather and store a whole bunch of information about that person visiting that page at that time. So, that special piece of code, it’s a little piece of code has to be on every single page of your website! So typically, your webmaster will need to do that for you.

Once that’s done, Google verifies it and BOOM! It’s automatic. You start tracking. And within a day or so, you can log-in to your free Google Analytics account and start seeing all sorts of statistics, which is really cool. And now I’m going to talk to you about it, what those numbers actually mean.

First of all, when we talk about web traffic, remember HITS are irrelevant! And I’ve told you this before in some other videos. Don’t let anyone every try to impress you with hits. All a hit is a file transfer. And keep in mind, a webpage can be made up of multiple files. Heres a good example.

Let’s say you have a webpage which has 6 pictures on it. If 1 person visits that webpage, basically it’s going to create 7 hits! And what I mean by that is, 6 picture transfers and 1 for the page itself of the text, so it’s going to create 7 hits! So, all I would have to do is have 99 pictures on a page and with a single person visiting that page would result in a 100 hits! And so hits are irrelevant. Don’t let anyone ever try to impress you with hits.

What you really should be looking at, are unique visitors and unique page views. Okay. Now unique visitors is different people looking at your webpage, your website. How many different people during this time frame came and looked at you. Unique views is, think of it as a visit. Okay. One unique person can make multiple visits.

So we need to look at the unique views (the unique or total visits) versus the number of visitors. Because that tells us a lot. Keep this in mind. If one person visits more than once, that’s a good sign. It means they came back. It means they saw something that they liked and they came back. So, having a whole bunch of visitors making a whole bunch of more visits, is really good news.

There’s also going to be a number on there you really need to pay attention to, and it’s called the Bounce Rate. And folks, if you don’t know the story of the Bounce Rate, go watch my video. I have a whole video on why the bounce rate is the most important statistic. Please watch that! Basically, the goal is to have a bounce rate of less than 30%.

The bounce rate is basically the number of people who come to your site, don’t click on anything and they leave, they bounce off. So it’s a bad number. You need less than 30%, watch the video, you’ll find out why!

There’s another statistic called the Time on the Site, the time spent on a site. In other words, when a person goes and visits your site, how much time are they spending there before they leave. Now, in our experience, we usually try to get our clients a time on site to be greater than 2 minutes. Remember, as I’ve said before, everyone on the internet has ADD and they’re lazy. And they’re not going to hang around a lot.

They’re going to scan a page, and if they don’t see something they like, they’re going to leave! So, a lot of times when a customer comes to us, who has an existing site that we didn’t built and when we look at their stats, we’re seeing time on site of less than 10 seconds! In other words, people aren‘t seeing anything and they are leaving. So, really shoot for a time on site of greater than 2 minutes, that let’s people know or that let’s you know that whatever you showing is relevant, and is getting read.

Pages per visit. How many pages is someone looking at per visit? You really don’t want this really to be one. Okay. Because all that’s telling you is that your bounce rate is through the roof and that people are coming, they’re not seeing anything they want to click on and they’re leaving. So the more pages per visit let’s you know how good your website is working. How interactive it is, how many people are actually going deeper into your site. You want that to be a high number.

The percentage of new visits. This is people who have never visited your site before. You always want this to be high. Brand new people because this let’s you know that the search engines are working, that new people are flowing in and that it’s not just your existing clients coming back over and over and over, but you have a bunch of new people who have never visited your site before. Take a look atthem. I usually like to see this number greater than 50%.

Let’s talk about the source and flow of visitors. because Google Analytics doesn’t just track how many of something you get; it also tracks where they came from and where they went once they were on your site. So, click on the Traffic Sources part of Google Analytics and it will tell you where everyone’s coming from.

First of all the search engines. It will tell you what percentage of your overall traffic is coming from Google, from Bing, from Yahoo, from whoever. It will even tell you what keywords (this is so cool) they typed in to get to you, which tells you what you’re showing up for in Google. And I think that will surprise you. Be sure and watch my video, “How to Rank Well in Google

You’ll be surprised how many people are getting to you from search engines. Now a lot of people ask me what percentage of their traffic should be coming from search engines. It depends on your business. That’s why I’m not going to give you a certain number. But you do want to be found, and so you do want that number to be at least greater than 10%.

The other one is referrals. When you see the word referrals on Google Analytics it means that someone else out there on their website made a link to you. So, someone clicked on that link and came to you. You were referred by someone else’s website. Okay.

So whenever you see referrals that means someone made a link and followed you. You must be saying “Someone made a link to me! Who made a link?” Well the neat thing is Google Analytics will show you the website and actually the page that has the link to you. You’re going to discover that there might be some other websites out there that are linking to you. You had no idea!

Direct. The Direct is the third one here and it basically means someone either typed in your address directly or they clicked on a link in an email or something. Okay. So it’s something direct or they had you bookmarked. So that’s what direct means.

So theres basically 3 traffic sources. They’re coming from a search engine, coming from a referral (from another site that linked to you) or they typed in your address and went to you. So these numbers should be very helpful in helping you understand how people are getting to your site.

Google also has something that I haven’t seen on any other analytics package called Visitor Flow. Basically what Visitor Flow does, it’s really graphical and it shows you “Okay the average person started on your home page. A

fter that, this many people left, but this many people then went to this page and from there they went to this page!” In other words, it lets you follow the footprints of someone on your site! It lets you know the path they took on all the links through your site. This is truly fascinating because it shows you behaviour! It shows you what pages are really really popular.

You can also see what percentage of people are looking at your website with mobile devices. Now folks I’m here to tell you if you don’t have a mobile website, you’ve got to get one! Because I’m seeing this percentage go up, up, up, UP!

More people are coming to your website for the very first time using a mobile device. They will even break it down saying it was this many Apples iPhones, it was this many Androids etc. It’s really cool and it will show you those numbers.

It will also show you what content on your site is the most popular. In other words what page is getting the most visits? And it will rank them. And I think this will surprise you. You think it’s this page over here, but really the page that’s getting the most is this one! A good example, we do a lot of websites for law firms. And typically on a law firm website it’s all the lawyer bios that get the highest amount of visits.

It’s not the services they provide, it’s not on their services page, it’s the bios! And that’s because when you’re looking for a lawyer you want to credential someone. You want to find out what kind of education, what kind experience, what kind of results do they have? So the bios typically get the highest number of visits. On another page, it might be the services they offer. So it just depends. But I think you’ll be surprised when you do that search.

As always folks, if you have any questions on this give me a call. And if you don’t have Google Analytics installed, I’d be happy to help you get it installed. Remember you cannot manage what you cannot measure! It is critical you understand your web statistics; it is critical that you have access to them and can look at them anytime. I’m Eric Spellmann with EricSpellmann.com. I’ll see you in cyberspace.