To have any hope at all of improving your online marketing, you have to understand what web statistics can teach you about the performance of your landing pages, the effectiveness of your calls to action, and the stickiness of your blog content.

They key to all of that is knowing the definitions of terms and understanding what those stats tell you about your website. So let’s dive in.

Total Visits

This is the total number of people who have come to your website, regardless of what page they visit. You might also see a statistic for unique visitors in your analytics program; this refers to people coming to your website for the first time.

Why it matters: The goal is to get as much traffic as possible, so overall you’re looking for these numbers to climb. However, keep in mind that a smaller number of interested visitors is better than a huge number of disinterested visitors.

Returning Visits

Once a visitor has been counted in your web analytics and he or she comes back for more content later, they’re logged as a returning visitor.

Why it matters: Returning visitors indicate you’re getting something right and that people are interested in your site. When you produce quality content, you’ll be rewarded with an increasing number of returning visitors.

Bounce Rate

Your site’s bounce rate is expressed as a percentage, and it tells you how many of your visitors only view one page and then leave.

Why it matters:  When people leave your site without clicking on additional pages, it indicates your content is lacking and that guests are not finding what they’re looking for. But there is a caveat. Blogs can negatively affect your bounce rate. In fact, it’s not uncommon for regulars to read your latest post and leave your site. Does that mean blogging is bad for your small business? Absolutely not! Just keep this in mind when analyzing your stats, and don’t panic.

Referring Links

Your list of referring links shows you where your visitors are coming from. You can see what sites are leading web traffic to your pages.

Why it matters: Referring links can show you who’s blogging about you, linking to you, and what social sites generate the most traffic for you. Armed with that information, you can make better decisions about divvying up your social marketing time.


This stat shows what keyword searches lead people to your pages.

Why it matters: Keyword optimization is important for building your search rank, and organic search traffic is a powerful lead generator. Use this info to get a better understanding of what your potential clients want and need.

Popular Pages

The most frequently visited pages on your website.

Why it matters: Learn what content is the most appealing by analyzing the most commonly viewed pages on your site. You might find that editorial content about industry trends does well or that tutorials get the most shares and views. Find out what works best for your business and build on it.

What other important information does your company glean from web analytics?