Understanding the Traffic Stats for Your Website

  •    Marketing Manager at MarketGoo, an SEO application for businesses looking to optimize their websites for search engines.

What is Site Traffic?

Site traffic refers to the volume of visits your website receives. It is usually measured in ‘visits’ or ‘sessions’, and is a good indicator of your website’s popularity, credibility, and the attractiveness of its content.

What traffic stats can I see for my Weebly site?

Within your Weebly dashboard, you can see a card that says “Stats”, which shows you numbers for Weekly Unique Visitors (How many different people visited your site) and Weekly Page Views of your site (How many times the pages on your site were viewed in total).

stats
The Stats card within your Weebly Dashboard

While those numbers seem pretty straightforward, you may have noticed that when you check your Google Analytics account, you get different numbers that say sessions, users, pageviews and can’t really tell the difference.

Analytics
Image: Renee Shupe

In Google Analytics, Users = “Unique visitors”, or a person who has come to your website and Sessions = “Visits”, or the count of different times that person came to your site.

Page Views is the number of times someone visits any page on your site. Your total pageview count goes up when a user:

  • Lands on a page on your website
  • Clicks “reload” after reaching the page
  • Returns to a page on your website they’ve already viewed

Unique pageviews combines the pageviews that are from the same person (a "user" in Google Analytics), on the same page, in the same session, and just counts them as one.

Unique pageviews are tracked for each page URL and page title combination.

Let’s use an example for Pageviews Versus Unique Pageviews in Google Analytics:

  • If I visit yourwebsite.com homepage right now, it counts as one pageview.
  • If I reload the homepage, you will go up to two pageviews, but it’ll still be one unique pageview.
  • If I send my colleague a link to yourwebsite.com and they visit, that’s three pageviews and two unique pageviews.
  • If I come back to your page tomorrow in a separate session, you will have four pageviews and three unique pageviews.

Another issue you might run into is that the numbers don’t seem to coincide with Weebly’s.

Why are the numbers I see within my Weebly dashboard different than the ones I see on Google Analytics?

It comes down to the method each uses to track visits. Weebly Site Stats track views and unique visitors by IP Address. Google Analytics does it by setting a cookie.

  • An IP address is a numeric address that can be used to identify your computer or device from which you’re accessing the internet.
  • A cookie is a bit of text that’s downloaded onto your browser as you visit different sites. They usually don’t have identifying information, but rather have a unique identifier that lets the website know whether you’ve visited before.

Which is better? Cookies may under-count your visits, as they can be disabled, blocked, or not expire between visits to the site over many days.

IP tracking can over-count your visits since it counts automated visits (like those from bots), each visit from a single person with an IP address that changes constantly, and even your own IP address.

What this tells us is that there are differences in traffic numbers depending on how you calculate it, and that the true number is probably somewhere in the middle.

How can I just get a definitive number on my traffic?

Use the Weebly Stats to get a feel for the trend in your traffic at-a-glance - whether it’s increasing or decreasing.

For more in-depth numbers and analysis, use Google Analytics. To see how your traffic relates to your visibility within search engine results, you can connect your Google Analytics account to your MarketGoo account in order to get your traffic numbers pulled directly into your SEO Report. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, MarketGoo will walk you through getting it set up.

MarketGoo
MarketGoo’s SEO Report connect to Google Analytics to display your site traffic.

What other Stats should I look at?

Within Google Analytics, you can explore the following numbers to get an even better idea of what visitors are doing on your site, and how you can improve:

Bounce Rate
Are your visitors quickly finding what they expect as soon as they visit a page on your site? Bounce rate will tell you what percentage of visitors leave your website almost immediately, without exploring or scrolling through it.

Pages Viewed
Pages viewed per session will tell you how many pages each visitor is viewing on your site during their visit. While more is not always better (a user may be lost and desperately clicking around looking for the content they need), if you have around 2-3 pages viewed per session, it can indicate that you are doing a good job guiding through your site.