Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 29, 2009
We often talk about getting traffic to our blogs and websites, but I’ve wondered if everyone really know what it is we’re talking about. There are different places where we can get information from concerning our traffic, and those sources don’t ever really seem to match up with each other.
I thought I’d take some time over the next bunch of days to talk about this topic of traffic, and what’s really important to know as far as tracking your statistics is concerned, while rolling out a possible new way of writing some articles for this blog.
Unique visits are the number of times an event has searched your site looking for something. That’s a much different description than unique visitors, which is the number of times an actual person has come to visit your site.
Hosting companies generally track unique visits, because that’s what’s important to them and their statistics. That’s how they check how active your account is on their servers, or how much bandwidth might be being used. It’s the reason that there’s such a dramatic difference between the two figures when one decides to check all their statistics.
For this blog, I’ve done a comparison of a three month period, from January to March, of the two statistics, as a point of clarification. From 1&1, my host, my unique visits numbers are thus:
February – 15,185
March – 21,634
From Google Analytics, which I still think is the best at telling you just how many real visitors you’ve had, I get this:
February – 1,206
March – 1,918
Analytics also gives you another statistic that’s interesting in this regard. It’s called Absolute Unique Visitor, and on this one, it tells you how many people came once, as opposed to might have come again. This number is lower, but if you do the math, you can determine how many of your visitors actually come back more than once. For this same period, here are my numbers:
February – 698
March – 1,410
What this tells us is that in January, 958 of my visitors, or 54%, were return visitors to this blog; February, 508, or 42%, were return visitors; March, 508, or 26%, were return visitors to this blog. For whatever reason, folks who frequented my blog more often have drastically gone away, and that doesn’t bode well for this blog for long, as return visitors are the ones who help keep you above water, and possibly are the ones who help you make sales along the way.
However, if you were looking to sell your blog, which I’m not, which is why I can share this information with you, the figure you’d give someone as far as telling them how many visits your blog gets, is the unique visitors statistic.
Why? Because it’s the figure that most people will ask you for, because it’s the statistic most people are set up to track easily. And it’s an honest figure in its own right, because one thing someone really wants to know is how often the search engines might be stopping by to check on the site, and in this case, Google is number one as far as visiting my site and producing unique visit statistics.
And there you go. Next time I’ll talk about page views, which I believe is infinitely more important than visitors.