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Website Traffic Metrics You Need to Know

Posted on November 7, 2012

Small businesses may benefit greatly from online marketing, but being great at your business and understanding online marketing are two entirely different things. Whether you are using a website, a blog, or online store, understanding these traffic metrics will enable you to improve your online presence and increase sales.

Sessions / Visits

This is the number of times that a browser or user accesses your website and looks around. A single user could result in multiple visits, so do not confuse this with “unique visitors.” The continuous activity of a user for a single session constitutes a visit. However the industry standard is that when a user stops their activity on a site for longer than 30 minutes, then a new session or visit is created. For this reason, keeping track of visits isn’t necessary the best metric to fall in love with. Theoretically, five visitors could be responsible for 500 visits to any site.

Unique Visitors

A unique visitor is one user, person, or IP address (browser). Unique visitors are absolute, meaning no matter how many times that same user or visitor visits a website, they will be counted as one unique visitor.

Visitors are also referred to as "New" and "Returning." New visitors are the users that visited your site for the very first time. Returning visitors are users that have visited your site before and are simply returning for more information or activity. Both types of visitors are good for business because one is your customer base and the other brings in fresh new eyes on your site.

Page Views

Page views are the number of times that a webpage is viewed by a visitor. During one session, one visitor may read three different pages on your website. This will count as three page views on the site.

You may track how many page views each specific page gets. This is valuable information. If you have five pages in addition to your home page, and one gets substantially more page views, you will want to analyze why it is so popular. Perhaps it has a catchy title. Then, incorporate that information into additional pages.

Time on Page

This refers to how much me a visitor spends on a page. One page view could result in five seconds or five minutes on the page. The more time people spend on a page, the more engaged and interested they are, in general.

Keep in mind how long it will take an average visitor to read your page. If it should take a minute, and people are leaving after twenty seconds, you should improve the content on that page. On the other hand, if people are spending a minute or more on that page, it likely offers good quality as is.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rates measure the rate in which a visitor lands on one of your pages, and then decide to leave. Common sense says if a visitor isn’t engaged enough to stay on your website, it usually means that your site would have a high overall bounce rate. The higher the bounce rate, the less engaging or interesting your website is. Of course, having a high bounce rate doesn’t always mean that your site lacks a good user experience. It could also mean that you have a high number of links that are sending visitors away from your site.


Referrers send people to your website. Perhaps a blogger linked to you in a post; this may show up in your website's analytics. The blogger's web address will show, and you may click back to the blog post in which you were mentioned.

A referrer is anybody or anything that sends people to your website. It is beneficial to make contact or return the favor if somebody is sending you traffic. If you website includes a blog, you may mention them in it. If they have blog, you may read some posts and comment, if appropriate. At least, you may wish to send them a note saying, "thank you." Networking and making contact with people who like your business will never hurt.

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