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A Look At Visits

Posted by 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:

January – 16,307
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:

January – 1,767
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:

January – 809
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.
 

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19 Comments »

Patrick Shaughnessy:

As usual, nice post Mitch. Many people look at hits and think they’re traffic is through the roof and we both know it’s not the case.

Patrick Shaughnessy´s last blog post..A Small Business “Just Doing It” with E-commerce Website

April 29th, 2009 | 10:18 AM
Mitch:

Definitely Paddy. Still, for some, those other numbers could end up making them a lot of money, so you keep them in reserve, just in case. 🙂

April 29th, 2009 | 11:35 AM
Erica:

This is true for all websites, not just blogs. Visits (and bounce rate) are the most important bargaining chip in striking a deal with advertisers.

April 29th, 2009 | 4:50 PM
Mitch:

Good point, Erica, but I decided to only talk blogs so as not to get too confusing. Welcome!

April 29th, 2009 | 9:56 PM
wilhb81:

WoW, at least you’re getting more unique visitors that I did here, Mitch. Keep up the good work and I’m sure your blog might be able to transform into a well-known business blog in the future…

April 30th, 2009 | 2:36 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Wil; I’m going to keep pounding on it as best I can. 🙂

May 1st, 2009 | 12:00 AM

Mitch,
That was s a very simple explanation which is useful for one and all. Just to add, Google Analytics considers a visit session terminated if the visitor is idle for more than 30 minutes. That’s, if the same visitor refreshes a page 30 minutes after visit, that’s considered 2 visits 🙂

Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Traffic Android for bulk social bookmarking & backlink building

April 30th, 2009 | 6:41 AM
Mitch:

Now that’s pretty informative, Ajith, as I didn’t know that. Good stuff.

May 1st, 2009 | 12:01 AM
khaled:

That’s a very impressive improvement between January and March in terms of a jump in traffic. I guess the trick now is to get the visitors to return after their first visit.

April 30th, 2009 | 9:06 AM
Mitch:

True, Khaled. I’ve got some really loyal readers, which I appreciate, but I’d love to have even more. Greedy perhaps, but at least I admit it. lol

May 1st, 2009 | 12:02 AM
Mitch:

True dat, my man!

May 2nd, 2009 | 11:49 AM
Krish:

That’s the simplest explanation I have read on blog traffic. Nice one Mitch. The stats look good and seem to be growing with each month. Again, focusing on page views will be really useful..I am sure with the type of content you put here more people are going to come and read. Your posts are interesting to read 🙂

Cheers,
Krish

May 1st, 2009 | 12:49 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Krish; from your lips to other bloggers eyes and ears! 😀

May 1st, 2009 | 12:52 AM

Isn’t it amazing how stats can be used to a person’s own advantage, which is why politicians love them so much.

At least you know that I am among one of your faithful readers, but only because I want to catch you out on a error of some sort. 😀

Sire´s last blog post..Passive Income With Your Own Online Store

May 1st, 2009 | 10:06 PM
Mitch:

Why Sire, hanging on for nefarious ways. One can only imagine how you’ll gloat when you, one of these years, catch me in more than just a simple typo.

May 2nd, 2009 | 11:54 AM

Me gloat? Not that you would notice Mitch, but I may rub it in a little.

Sire´s last blog post..Sailboats In Sydney Harbor With Opera House Backdrop

May 2nd, 2009 | 10:08 PM
Mitch:

That’s okay, Sire; you’ll probably have a long way to go to catch me in what I find on your blog. 🙂

May 2nd, 2009 | 11:06 PM

Ouch, now that was a low blow 😀

Sire´s last blog post..Martin Hamilton Smith’s Vision For Adelaide

May 2nd, 2009 | 11:10 PM
Mitch:

Yeah, I ain’t no good. 😀

May 3rd, 2009 | 12:07 AM