If you consider your blog a business, or even if you don’t, you are probably aware of your blog stats or metrics. There are so many stat counters out there, it’s hard to know which one is best and honestly there is no right answer. Ask around and get suggestions from friends. If you are just installing an analysis tool for the first time, it may seem confusing, and it’s important to know what the terms mean.
You hear uniques, PV’s, bounce rate which are sometimes called different names in different programs. Your tool should have a help section and that is where I have found the most help in deciphering the terms and their meanings. But if you still can’t figure it out, here’s some guidance that will hopefully help you along.
Page Rank or PR> Google has an algorithm to determine a page’s or site’s rank which basically means putting a number on it’s relative importance on the web. PR goes from 0-10. If you have a new site, don’t be alarmed if you are a “0” or “1”. Securing incoming links from sites that rank higher than you do will bring that up. Blogrolls and guest posting are great for this. I would research ways to improve your PR because some companies will only work with a certain PR or above, and that’s strictly a business strategy on their part. You can go to PR Checker to see what yours is.
Unique Visits> When we ask for Uniques, we mean the number of times an individual has visited your website. This is a number that varies from program to program. Why? Because some will consider a visitor unique if every day and some every 30 minutes. So if your mother-in-law stalks your blog 3 times a day (eek) she may be considered 3 visitors. If you think about it, people tend to read blogs on a daily basis, so setting it for 1 day (if you can set yours) makes more sense and gives a better estimate of your readership. You may have a stat just called Visits. I would Google the program you use and see if you can find an explanation of the difference in Uniques and Visits.
Page Views> Everytime a person visits it’s one page view (PV). If they go to multiple pages on your site, each one is counted as a page view. It’s not surprising to find PV’s more than double your uniques. Linking to other relevant posts of yours w/in your current post and adding widgets for “popular posts” and “commenters” are ways to keep people on your site looking around. Google reevaluates this number ever so often, so you may see an increase so it’s important if you keep a media kit to keep this current.
Bounce Rate> I feel not enough attention is paid to your bounce rate. This is a measure of how quickly a person who arrives at your site leaves. Obviously it’s better to have them stay around, right? It shows people like what they see and actually read posts. The lower the better. You are going to get google traffic which can come and go quickly, and may raise your rate, but having dedicated readers will balance that out. Rates can vary greatly too, depending on the type of blog you have. Mine is at 38%, but I have a lot of tutorials on there and people might have to stay on the site longer to follow. I have heard anything below 70% is good.
*Answering a question in the comments, if you do a lot of giveaways and promote them heavily, you may find this rate on the high side. People come, enter, move on. Bloggers who just post recipes may see a higher rate. People search for the recipes, grab it and go, and this may be higher during the holidays… think of it in terms of “what will keep people on my site longer”. So for certain niche blogs, the number may vary by the nature of the niche.
I run two different stat programs. I use Google Analytics and Get Clicky. I ALWAYS suggest having two running as 1. they all produce different results and 2. one might go down and then you have a backup. Most programs will allow you to specify a time period for capture. PR / Brands typically either work by the month. If your stats vary significantly at certain times like a holiday, you might want a 3-6 month average…
We have added some links to the learning lounge that relate to blog stats and I would suggest you start reading there first. Then if you have any specific questions, hit us up int the comments and we’ll try out best to answer. And of course feel free to email us anytime (envelope on the sidebar!)