Website Traffic – An Overview
Website traffic refers to the bulk of data that a website sends and receives. By ascertaining the number of visitors and the number of pages visited, the volume of visitors and some of their habits could be determined. It is a common practice for websites to keep track of data sent and received because these are directly related to their popularity. Moreover, keeping data on website traffic could also identify potential problem areas as well as areas for improvement. By so doing, the site owner could easily point out the particular page or pages most visited and otherwise, because this is important for many decision making processes.
A record (say for one particular month) could take a form of a graph. This is very useful because just by looking at it, one could easily see the high and low points, which correspond to the frequency of visits the particular site or page had for the period.
These data are stored in the log file of the web server. The log file automatically lists all the pages that were visited. Whenever a file is opened, a hit is generated. Both pages and images are considered files. This means that five hits are generated when a page containing four images is visited (1 hit for the page itself and 4 for the four images). Once a visitor views a webpage, a page view is generated, which could lead to more succeeding page views.
Information is collated when website traffic monitoring is done. These collated data, first and foremost, include the number of visitors. These also contain information on how many pages were viewed per visitor. When there is a high number of a page view, it means that visitors moved further inside the website. This could further be analyzed to mean two things – either they liked the website and found it useful or, they found it difficult to find what they wanted.
The files also contain other important data. These are average visit duration, average page duration, domain classes, busy times, most requested pages, most requested entry pages, most requested exit pages, top paths, and referrers. All of these when taken together give vital information needed to establish a meaningful website traffic picture.