Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the Web: Defining Some More Terms

Statistics in graph formAfter reading my post from yesterday, my good blog friend, Jacki Hollywood Brown of Well Organized thought that I should address some of the terms regarding website statistics. Yes, I know that many people don't care about statistics. Really, the only reason you should care is if you actually care whether someone is actually reading your content.

OK, so most of us might actually care about that. So, here goes.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This has nothing to do with making search engines work better. This actually means optimizing your site to make it more likely that you will end up on the front page of search results when people search for a particular phrase. For example, one of my former clients, Suzanne Smith of cellochan, is on the first page of results when someone searches on Google for "Ann Arbor cello lessons". SEO is almost as much an art as a science and requires a long-term commitment for any reasonable chance of success, according to my friend Andrew Miller of Your Search Advisor, LLC. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
  2. Hits: This is the number of times a file is retrieved from your website. This is probably one of the least useful statistics. Each time a visitor looks at a single web page on your site, his browser has to retrieve many files. The text of a page is in one file and each graphic on the page is also in a different file. One page visited could easily generate ten or more "hits".
  3. Page Views: This is slightly more useful as it is the number of times anyone visits a particular page. This can tell you which pages on your site are receiving the most traffic.
  4. Visitors: When someone comes to your website, they may click around a bit, each generating a number of page views. It's good to know how many people visit your site. Think of this as the equivalent of how many people walk in the front door of a store on any given day.
  5. Unique Visitors: While "visitors" counts the number of people through the door, unique visitors measures the size of your actual audience. In our real-world example, if I had fifty people walk in and out of my store in a day, I might be pretty happy -- until I discovered that it was actually the same guy all the time. My traffic was fifty people, my audience was one.
There are several other meaningful concepts with regards to web statistics, but they start getting into some esoteric areas which, for now might be best left alone. Maybe we'll cover those in another post.

So, what are some of the phrases in your business that a lay person might not fully understand?

1 comment:

Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

Great information to know!
Thanks