Website Statistics - Sources
One really important set of statistics is "Sources" - how do people find your website?
Generally speaking, these break down into the following categories:
1. Direct / bookmark. That is any way someone reached your website other than by clicking on a link on a website.
It is a bit too general as, for example, it includes people clicking on links in emails (unless they are viewing the email in a browser). So if you are doing email broadcasting, you need to find a way to measure how many people are getting to your website from each different broadcast.
2. Searches. How many visitors came from searches? And from what search engines and what search terms did they use? If you are running click ads (paid search listings), how many were paid versus organic (free)?
3. Directory listings. There are several types of directory listings including the various online yellow pages, directories specific to a particular business category or geographical area, free and paid listings. Some of these can be major sources of traffic to your site as well as helping your search engine rankings (but only the free listings help SEO).
4. Online ads. If you're running online ads such as on blogs or Facebook or elsewhere, how much traffic are these producing?
5. Publicity. Links from newspaper, radio, TV or magazine websites and blogs can generate huge amounts of traffic. They may not have a link so may show as coming from searches, in which case you have to use other data to figure out where the traffic is coming from or how much traffic it is.
The classic is a huge spike in traffic from one geographical area that lasts a day or so. Traces to an article in that area's major daily newspaper.
6. Other links. A site can be so popular that it accumulates hundreds or even thousands of links from other websites, just people who like your site and are recommending it. This can be from blogs, social networking sites like Facebook, hobbyist or fan sites, etc. etc. And they can generate lots of traffic and improve your PR (Page Rank) and increase your search engine rankings.
You can see that telling where your traffic is coming from is not necessarily a simple exercise. With a good web statistics program, you can get the raw data you need to figure it out. Over time, you can get a good command of what is happening, and that is the key to making improvements.
This is not just something "nice to do". It is essential to making a success of Internet Marketing.