Website Traffic Analysis

Some companies offer advertising schemes that, in return for increased web traffic (visitors), pay for screen space on the site. Sites also often aim to increase their web traffic through inclusion on search engines and through SEO.

Measuring web traffic

Web traffic is analyzed using the traffic statistics found in the web server log file, an automatically-generated list of all the pages served. A hit is generated when any file is served. The page itself is considered a file, but images are also files, thus a page with 5 images could generate 6 hits (the 5 images and the page itself). A page view is generated when a visitor requests any page within the web site - a visitor will always generate at least one page view (the main page) but could generate many more.

Tracking applications external to the web site can record traffic by inserting a small piece of HTML code in every page of the web site.

Web traffic is also sometimes measured by packet sniffing and thus gaining random samples of traffic data from which to extrapolate information about web traffic as a whole across total Internet usage.

The following types of information are often collated when monitoring web traffic:

  • The number of visitors
  • The average number of page views per visitor - a high number would indicate that the average visitors go deep inside the site, possibly because they like it or find it useful. Conversely, it could indicate an inability to find desired information easily.
  • Average visit duration - the total length of a user's visit
  • Average page duration - how long a page is viewed for
  • Domain classes - all levels of the IP Addressing information required to deliver web pages and content.
  • Busy times - the most popular viewing time of the site would show when would be the best time to do promotional campaigns and when would be the most ideal to perform maintenance
  • Most requested pages - the most popular pages
  • Most requested entry pages - the entry page is the first page viewed by a visitor and shows
  • Most requested exit pages - the most requested exit pages could help find bad pages, broken links or the exit pages may have a popular external link
  • Top paths - a path is the sequence of pages viewed by visitors from entry to exit, with the top paths identifying the way most customers go through the site
  • Referrers - The host can track the (apparent) source of the links and determine which sites are generating the most traffic for a particular page.
  • Web sites like Alexa Internet produce traffic rankings and statistics based on those people who access the sites while using the Alexa toolbar. However, it does not look at the complete traffic picture for a site. Large sites usually hire the services of companies like Nielsen Netratings , but their reports are available only by subscription.

Reference: Wikipedia
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