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Hi: I just built my first website for <<url snipped>> and have received my first usage stats report. I've been told to focus on page views. Any other ideas on interpretation? Here are the stats...

Hits 4604
Files 1728
Sites 91
KBytes 12909
Visits 125
Page views 822

Thanks! Wayne

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Last Post by Dani
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Web stats are a MUST for anyone doing business over the web; you want to focus on many variables, not just pageviews and hits. You want to know where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they are using, how much time they are spending on your site, and MANY MANY MANY other important factors. The two top stats programs are Urchin and WebTrends. Both are excellent, but not recommended for the beginner. Shop around and see what suits your needs.

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hits = the number of files that have been accessed; if someone loads a page on your site with three images on it, that is 4 hits - 3 for the images and 1 for the HTML page, itself. Alternatively, sometimes images are cached by the web browser, and therefore they don't always register. For this reason, hits are considered a completely inaccurate measurement of site traffic since they directly correlate to how many images, and other external elements, are embedded on each page. They can be useful when evaluating server load and bandwidth usage, since every hit requires CPU time by your web server and bandwidth to the visitor's web browser.

pageviews = The number of real pages accessed - either .html pages, .php pages, .asp pages, etc. They are normally acurate representations but can be skewed when using FRAMES or IFRAMES since the visitor might just load one webpage, but 2+ are loaded at once. In most cases, if a user comes to the site and surfs through 10 pages, that is 10 pageviews.

sessions = A group of pageviews by the same visitor in a fixed amount of time. For example, if a user comes to the site and surfs through 10 pages, that is one session. If a couple of hours later they visit again and surf through an additional 5 pages, that is a second session. Sessions are often calculated via the use of cookies or session IDs, though they may also be extrapolated from Apache server logs tracking systems. This is a good representation of how much traffic you get, and is also used to track repeat visitors, how long visitors are staying on your site, and how deep visitors are surfing through your site.

uniques = The number of unique visitors who have come to the site in a predetermined amount of time, as denoted either by IP address or by cookies. Uniques are often calculated in terms of daily (24-hour unique) or monthly. For example, if Joe Bloggs visits the site early one morning and surfs through ten pages, and then visits the site later that afternoon for a second session and surfs through an additional 20 pages, he is still only one unique visitor. Uniques are a good representation of how diversified your audience is, and your site's reach.

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