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New Website by liamhart, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  liamhart 

So you’ve set up your website as your primary marketing tool. You included some photos because you’ve heard that photos or images of some kind are key to capturing the attention of visitors to your site. You are now ready and waiting for the orders to pour in.

WordPress StatsBut nothing seems to be happening. What’s next?

There are ways to find out if anyone is viewing your website – the first step to determine its effectiveness.

If your website is built on WordPress, you can check on the stats for the site. See the image to the right where “Stats” is the third option.

WordPress Stats include the number of views, visitors, likes, and comments by day, week, month, or year. In addition, which posts and pages were visited and the number of times for each are displayed, as are the sites that referred to your site, the number of clicks to other sites from your site and the urls for each, the number and names of authors of items on your site (that will be you unless you have invited others to take part in posting), the countries where those visiting the site are from, the search terms used on search engines that resulted in visitors being directed to the site, and the number of videos on your site that were accessed.

That’s a lot of information, much of which can help you determine where you are succeeding and where you may need to do something different.

For example, on the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild site, I know from the stats that the day the site will be viewed most often has always been the day of a scheduled meeting. And on that date, the page most often viewed is the Home page. Information about who will be speaking at that meeting as well as the meeting time and location is in the left column of every page and I assume that is the information people visit the site to confirm. But I’d like to see more visits to other pages on the site. Since I know the Home page will be viewed on the day of our meetings, I plan to add more time-sensitive information about the Guild to that page with links to other pages. Because that page is the most frequently viewed, that is the page that should be updated most often with new content.

If your website is not a WordPress site, you should still be able to get some statistics on how often your site is viewed from the service provider who supports your website.

Another option available for all websites is Google Analytics. The Standard option is free. One valuable piece of information available through Google Analytics that is not available through WordPress stats is the length of time each person spent on the site. If the visit is a second or less in length, it is likely the visitor found what he or she was looking for, but a longer length of time likely indicates the visitor found something else of interest.

Another bit of information available though Google Analytics is how many of the visitors are new vs returning visitors. The goal is a mix with neither group dominating over the other. New visitors indicate people are finding the site. Returning visitors indicate people found something of value to come back to again. Ideally, you’d like a good number of each. Compare the percentage of each to the overall numbers.