The value of website statistics is obvious, right? You need to know how many people are visiting your site in order to properly direct your efforts. That’s elementary.

It’s also only the beginning. Developing a strong understanding of your web stats can provide you with a great deal of information that can help you to make a series of adjustments to improve site performance. Evaluating your stats properly can help you to make wise decisions. It can take a lot of guesswork out of increasing site profitability.

What do you need to know, other than raw visitor totals?

Page views can tell you a great deal about how your page is being used. Agent information can give you an idea of whether your site is really search engine friendly. Browser information can give you insight regarding the need for cross-browser compatibility checks. Entry and exit information can help you to determine what content is doing its job and what pages are scaring people away.

And that’s just the beginning.

A robust analytics program (such as NetApplication’s own HitsLink) is capable of telling your site’s story to you in numbers at any time. The information that’s available to you is mind-boggling. Once you develop an understanding of the various metrics used in measuring site activity and how to analyze them, you’ll be peering into the core of your site. You won’t just know what’s happening–you’ll have a very solid understanding of why it’s happening, too.

Do you have to become a complete stats geek to run a successful website? Of course not. You don’t need to lose yourself in the numbers for hours. However, it does pay to develop a solid understanding of the various stats and the skills necessary to interpret them correctly. It’s not particularly difficult and it can help you to improve the overall quality of your site.

If you don’t know the difference between hits and visits or can’t explain how to calculate and interpret a page view/visitor ratio, you’re well behind the curve. Even if you can clear those low hurdles, there is much, much more to learn in order to get the most out of your site.

It’s amazing. People spend countless hours learning how to design and construct great websites, yet they often fail to learn how to actually assess their eventual performance. Learn to use the various statistics readily available to you to optimize your site and marketing efforts, and you will be well on your way to success.

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