Many of us browse through our website statistics and find the results interesting. We may even murmur an “mm” of appreciation or “oh” of surprise. But what concrete conclusions can you draw from the number of visitors? Or how can you effectively optimize your website based on what you see?
In this post, we take a closer look at the traffic stats you can quickly view on your website, and how you can avoid some common misinterpretations.
Checking website stats: what tools to use?
If you have a Jimdo website, you can get a quick and easy overview of important website metrics in your Dashboard. (Here’s more on how to activate Statistics in our Help Center). These statistics will tell you:
- Your total number of visitors
- Where your visitors come from (referrals)
- How many clicks you’ve received on your calls-to-action, e.g. your contact form, store products, and booking buttons
- Changes over time for all of these numbers
You can get even more information by connecting Google Analytics to your Jimdo website. Google Analytics helps you dive much deeper into traffic sources and trends, and also get more information about your visitors. The learning curve is a bit steep at first, but it’s worth taking a look for the treasure trove of insights you’ll get. Here’s more on how to get started with Google Analytics.
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How to check website visitors
You can find your total number of website visitors in your Dashboard. Depending on the length of time you choose, you can also see how your visitor numbers have changed over time.
Visitors are a clear indicator of the success of your website. A high (or growing) number of visitors suggests that the content of your website is working well—no complicated math required here. But not all visitor numbers are created equally. Getting a ton of visits doesn’t really matter if those visitors don’t convert into paying customers. Attracting the right visitors is something that you’ll work on through marketing, keyword research, and SEO.
In short: More visitors mean more potential customers, readers, or prospects. So if you manage to increase your website traffic in a certain amount of time, you’ve turned the right screws with relevant content, SEO, or great marketing.
Good to know: Lots of people want to know how many visitors to a website is “good.” But you can’t always compare different websites. A niche website that caters to a very specific audience might measure success in other ways than a well-known travel blog. If you have a smaller audience, your number of visitors per month doesn’t have to be four digits.
Hits vs. visits: what’s the difference?
People often use the terms interchangeably. You see 1000 visitors and think, “Hey, my website got 1000 hits yesterday, awesome!” But to be accurate, it’s best to refer to your website getting visits rather than hits.
Technically speaking, a “hit” is a file request to a web server. So when a visitor loads a web page, their IP address makes multiple hits to the server, requesting the text, photos, and graphics on the page. A page with a lot of elements on it will result in a lot of hits, but it’s not something the average website owner needs to track or monitor.
A visit is a session on your website—a series of hits from someone’s IP address. One visit can have multiple page views and multiple hits. The visit (or session) ends when the visitor leaves your site or is inactive for 30 minutes. Check out more website buzzwords here.
Finding traffic sources – referrals
Referrals tell you where your website visitors come from. These are the sources of your traffic. Maybe it’s Google, maybe it’s another website that has recommended you and provided a link to your website.
Your sources show where you’re getting good publicity and where there’s still potential. For example, if you get a lot of visitors from search engines, your SEO is probably working well. If Google isn’t sending you much traffic at all, this is an area to focus some attention.
You’ll also see which social media platforms are sending you the most traffic, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This is an important piece of information when setting up and optimizing your social profiles and deciding where to focus your time.
Direct visitors are users who typed your domain (web address) directly into their browser’s search bar. This can help you track things like how successful your latest print campaign has been. For example, if you handed out flyers at a local event, you’ll be able to tell how many people saw your URL on the leaflet and typed it right into their browser.
In short: Referrers are a valuable piece of information. By knowing how and where users have found your site, you will find out where there’s potential for optimization.
Good to know: It’s important that the sources of traffic you tap into match your target group and your project. For example, if you sell organic baby toys, a parenting website or blog could be a great source of traffic. Doing outreach to referrer sites is a good way to promote your business.
How to find out competitors’ website traffic
So far we’ve focused on your own website traffic, but what about your competition? If you’re curious how your traffic compares to a competitor’s, there are some tools out there that can give you a glimpse. SimilarWeb and SEMRush, for example, will give you monthly traffic data and keyword information from websites similar to yours. Data is limited in the free versions, but it’s a good place to start.
If you want to go further, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a paid tool. But there are still lots of free ways you can analyze a competitor’s website.
How do you measure the success of a website?
Like we said above, there’s no magic number for what is considered good website traffic. But taken together, the numbers can give you a picture of whether and how you’re reaching your goals, especially over time.
- Are visits increasing over time?
- Are your referrals increasing from the channels you target? For example if you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook but not getting traffic to your website from Facebook, then it’s not working so well for you.
- Do visitors click on your calls-to-action? Your Jimdo Statistics will tell you how many clicks you’ve received on your contact form and other buttons. If no one is clicking, you’ll need to improve your CTAs. Here’s more on how to improve your conversion rate.
- Are visitors engaged in your content? Do they visit more than one page, or do they take a quick look and then leave right away? Your popular pages, the time people spend on your site, and your bounce rate are all data points that tell you how useful and relevant your site is to visitors (You can take a look at these numbers in Google Analytics.)
If you’re just starting out, you won’t expect to see major changes in your traffic right away. But keeping an eye on the numbers and watching your efforts improve over time is a really satisfying way to track success on your website!