Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Web Analytics – It’s simple really !

I learnt something new today when reviewing my analytics report. Not sure why the thought hadn't come to me previously, I will call it Analytic Evolution. Blogging about my experience to help me understand it further.

I noticed that my own domain was appearing in the ‘top referring sites’ and ‘top referring page’ in my Analytics reports.

Firstly considered what a referrer is:

“It is a site/page that refers a visitor to my site by linking to it”

Secondly looked for answers as to whether this is normal, good news it is. Great... but why is it good ? mainly becuase I understand the reasons, these are listed below:

The reason why my domain was appearing as a referrer can be due to a number of reasons, outlined some key findings below:

1. A user of your site may browse then leave to put the kettle on make a bit of lunch, leaving the browser open. On return they start to browse again and since the user session has timed out, the referrer to the site will be the page they were on before they left.

2. Could occur if IP switching occurs, which basically means the users IP address changes when browsing your website. As a new IP appears then the Analytics will treat this as a separate user and thus the referrer will be the previous page (of your site). However this only happens if tracking definition is set to use IP/User Agent.

Also would like to blog that I found out that ‘No referrers’ often appear in the analytics, typically due to the below reasons:

1. User accesses site directly
2. Site could be made home page by the user
3. User may access via a bookmark or favourite
4. Or they access via an email link
5. The event that started the visitor session was a hit to
something other than a page, such as an image.
6. User came to your Web site by way of a java-script-based
Redirect ie: a pop up.

Also some duplicate URLs, (same page different URL dependent on function on site) were appearing in my report, so off now to use a tool called URL search and replace to tidy up the log files.

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