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How to analyze website reports and webstats

Real measure of traffic?



2:57 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi, I have access to my website's report / webstats which is hosted on Godaddy. Though I do not study these very often, lately I have been trying to understand what it truly represents.

1. Which element of the report represents "traffic" to my website?
2. How do I quantify traffic to my website, especially if I need to present the statistics to someone?
3. What are "hits" and how do I account for these?
4. How do I know how many new visitors visited my website in a month (it should not count me)?

Any help will be appreciated.


4:54 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

1. "Traffic" is a general term that can be measured in different and more specific ways. It is most commonly used as a loose synonym for "unique visitors".

2. They are most likely interested in "unique visitors".

3. A "hit" is a request to the server, for any file. If a web page has links to 10 images, it will generate 1 hit for itself plus 1 hit for each image, total = 11. It is an overstatement of traffic. But sometimes a "hit" is loosely used as a synonym for "page views". If 1 person looks at 2 pages, you have 1 unique visitor and 2 pageviews.

I think the documentation for Webalizer (a free download from their site) has some further discussion of the distinctions among "hits" and the other terms, which might be useful even if you don't use Webalizer.

4. Knowing if a visitor is "new", and excluding your own visits are mostly things you can best determine by loading your logs into a database. It is a more specific type of filtering than most web log analysis software can do by itself without your specifically customizing its configuration file.


1:13 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks SteveWh. So what this means is I don't really need to worry about "hits" to my website. I should be looking at Unique Visitors. Also, is there a more mature way of understanding the traffic graphs?


7:08 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Not sure what graphs you're looking at, or from which analysis program.

The best way to get an intuitive feel for what's happening is to take your time studying the graphs carefully and try to figure out what you're seeing. Look for patterns. For example, you might see more traffic on weekends, or on weekdays, etc.

Try these for background info:

Just a short article about "hits":

The webalizer info I was trying to remember might be in the download package, but I found it online also. Glossary with explanations:

Longer discussion of website traffic and related topics:


12:29 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



2:36 pm on Dec 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

AWStats - look at uniques and entrance and exit pages, for webalizer look at the info above. There's MUCH more to everything so I'd work on optimizing your analytics analysis. I'd actually focus on adding the GAnalytics code because GAnalytics gives a Ton of data for you to work with including navigation paths, etc

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