Web Site Goal: Learn How To Understand Your Web Traffic

Websites are like many things, they are never finished – not quite. They may look good and be serving you quite well, but the chances are if you pay little attention you can improve your results. On the other hand, if you ignore them too long, they will get out of date and may do your reputation some harm. I’m not talking about spending hours and hours redesigning and rewriting. But it can pay to get more familiar with your website, particularly the administration area so you know exactly what’s happening. Once you know what’s happening you’ll have some idea of what you want to improve and even how to make the right kind of changes.

Learn about your traffic stats

If you don’t know your traffic is reported on your website that should be your number one goal. You want to know what kind of traffic you’re getting, how much, and where it’s coming from. With this information you can begin to tweak your website so that it brings more the kind of traffic you want – people who will use your real estate services. Go to your administration panel, and along the left-hand menu you’ll see among other things the words Traffic Report. Plan on spending something a couple of hours over a day or two to get familiar with the Traffic Reports your site gives you. You may find the stats really easy to understand or you may be brand-new to the business website statistics. Web stats can be arcane but over time they can help you build the traffic you want. When you’re learning about your traffic stats it’s probably best to keep your learning sessions fairly close together. If you get started today and don’t come back for a couple of weeks chances are you’ll almost have to start over again. On the other hand, once you master them in one or two or three sessions they’re yours for life.

Most viewed pages

The first entry on your traffic report menu is Most Viewed pages. Generally this will be your homepage but not always. It might be a blog post you’ve written, a hot listing or something else. What these statistics tell you is roughly what your users are looking for when they come to your site. You can choose the dates you want to look at. In general it’s probably best to make a habit of looking at your stats every week. You’ll begin to see patterns that can be quite helpful.

Visit totals

Visit totals give tells how many visitors you had how many people have come to your website every day for the chosen month. You hope to see a gradual increase in these numbers. If you do that means your web marketing is paying off. If these numbers are static or decrease you’ll need to see if you can figure out how you can get them turned around. Note too the line that tells you :
Total Page Views
Average Per Day
Highest Day
Lowest Day
Avg. Views Per Visit
While total page views is an important number, the average views per visit may be even more important. You want visitors who are interested in you and your site – if they glance at your homepage and leave, they aren’t doing any looking around. On the other hand, if you’ve got fewer visitors but they’re actually looking at several pages, you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Referral links

When someone else with a website links to your site that’s counted as a referral link. You want solid referral links – those that are coming from legitimate websites – for two reasons. The first is because people will come to your site from those other sites because they want the information you have; referrals are a good way to build traffic. The other reason isn’t quite as obvious. When Google decides what page to list first second or third under a particular search term, they take into consideration both the content and the number of legitimate referral links site has. What do I mean by legitimate referral links? Most of your referral links should come from the websites of your suppliers your mortgage company your escrow company and other sites that have specifically to do with real estate. If you try to cheat this process through buying links or programs like link farms Google will probably suss this out and may stop listing you you altogether. You’re better off with a handful of legitimate  links then hundred questionable links. This is good for your clients too. You want people coming to your website that are likely to be interested in buying or selling real estate with you – those are the people that count in terms of web traffic. Hundreds or thousands of people coming to your site to have no interest in real estate does you no good at all.

Google analytics

Google analytics is the final entry on your traffic report. They can be good information to have, but it isn’t always easy to understand. I’ll do a separate article, with some screenshots, that will show you how to set it up and give you some hints about how to make the most use of the information provided. I don’t think Google analytics needs to be an immediate goal for your website. There are likely to be other more important issues like your About You page, making sure your listings are coming in properly through IDX, and that you other understand the other components. Feel free to ask questions about web site stats in comments and I’ll do my best to get them answered.
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