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Making the Most of Metrics

How to Measure your Web Traffic and Understand Who’s Visiting your Site

By Dorian Benkoil, for I, Reporter

Whether you’re running a small hyperlocal community website or a large regional citizen media site, you can use free or inexpensive tools to measure how many people are visiting your site and where they like to go most.

In the Web world, the art of measuring your traffic is often referred to as “Web metrics” or “Web analytics.” With the right analytics tools, you can also get very specific details in addition to total traffic numbers, including:

  • How many visitors are new and how many are returning?
  • What are the most popular areas of your site?
  • How do people find these areas? Are they coming from your home page or links from other sites?
  • How are people using search engines to reach your site?
  • Where do they go within your site once they arrive?

Why should you care about keeping track of your traffic? It will empower you to do several things:

  • You will be able to tell whether you are drawing the kinds of visitors you want from your community.
  • You will be able to improve your site to better give them what they need.
  • You will be able to increase traffic.
  • You will be able to give accurate information to potential advertisers, sponsors or funders about how your site is performing.

Following are some steps to get you started.

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