Site statistics play a critical role in my online business. But you might be surprised by the sorts of things that I pay attention to.
Most new Internet professionals focus on a few data points such as hits, pageviews or unique visitors. While those data points are fine, they are what I refer to as “passive stats” – they don’t give you much in terms of actionable steps that you can take to improve your site’s success. Plus, passive stats are too easy to manipulate and artificially inflate.
Instead of focusing on passive stats, you should focus on active stats. Here’s how.
1. Monitor traffic sources
You should constantly be looking at your referral logs to see which sites are driving traffic to your site. As you experiment with various marketing and promotion techniques, you can quickly learn which are working and which aren’t. Which blogs are worth commenting at? Well, the ones that actually send good traffic to your site. As you learn the types of marketing actions that result in targeted traffic, you can optimize the time you spend marketing.
2. Monitor total search referrals
My primary goal for all of my sites is to increase overall search referrals. As I wrote in a previous post, there is really only one site statistical graph that matters: growth in search referrals. Search referrals will almost alway be your number one source of traffic, and the nice thing is that search traffic is perhaps the most sustainable and growable source of traffic you could ever have (alongside site branding).
If you keep your eye on the total number of visitors to your site that came by searching on a major search engine like Google, you’ll be more likely to take actions to increase this statistic.
3. Monitor your site traffic in real time
Some website statistics programs like pMetrics allow you to monitor your site traffic in real time…LIVE! Real time traffic allows you to pick up on emerging search trends and take action to stay ahead of the crowd. As soon as you notice an emerging trend, you can capitalize by reinforcing your content.
For some specific tips on how you can use live blog stats to make more money from your blog, check out the article Making Money With pMetrics.
4. Monitor your keyphrase referrals
Use your site statistics program to analyze the keywords that people used to find your site. Why is this important? Because it tells you what your readers want and allows you to reverse engineer these keywords into new articles that meet your readers’ needs.
Additionally, if you have some well-performing search terms, consider strengthening them to show up even higher.
It’s time to move beyond Web 1.0 site statistics analysis. With the development of newer site stats applications, you can now get much more actionable information. Instead of being a passive observer of stats, become an active participant. Take action today to increase your search engine traffic in the most effective ways.
Great points everyone. Hart…I agree…general volume can be a nice indicator of site health, but it needs to be complimented by smart, aggressive actions based on a deeper stat analysis.
Ahmed, I totally agree. Monitoring referrals gives you a sense of what works and what doesn’t so that you can use your time more effectively.
Very useful informations, great article
I like to watch the general volume of my traffic, and if there any spikes I watch my “refer” stats more closely. Like you mentioned, it’s nice to know you are getting traffic on what type of posts .. but it’s also nice to know who’s sending you traffic. When I random link to blogs about some posts in my bloglines .. I’ll probably put more than 1 link to those sites that actually have readers reading their comments/my trackback/ and come visit me
Nice terms: “active stats” and “passive stats”. The active stats are more specific and thus, more actionable.
I love pMetrics and use it in conjunction with Awstats. pMetrics real time feature is what makes it so valuable. You can see how people are interacting with your site as it happens – allowing you to tailor content to trends, incoming traffic sources, and such.
Stats are so much more than a simple gauge of page views!
last week my site got linked to by the BBC for an article we did (a list article, not surprising, eh).
once you start tracking traffic sources, you also get an idea for what type of articles are noticed / appreciated by top blogs / websites in your niche.