Where’s My Traffic Coming From?


Half the battle of any e-business is driving traffic to your site. After all, you can’t convert a visitor into a customer, subscriber, loyal reader, or qualified lead until you first get that visitor to your site. Whether you depend purely on organic search or you pull out all the stops with a combination of paid search, affiliate marketers, link building campaigns, and the like, you need to know what methods are working – and what methods are not.

Perhaps you need to write Web site copy that uses keywords more effectively. Maybe you need to work harder to build reciprocal links. In fact, it could be any number of things. You won’t know where to begin, though, until you find out where your traffic is (and isn’t) coming from. Here’s how

With your control panel open

1. Click the AwStats Stats link.

2. Click the Origin link. Look in the option list, in the left column. Toward the bottom of the list

is the Referrers section. The link is there.

3. Review your Referrers.

In the Connect to Site From section, you will find four or five key categories. You can see your site referrers by examining these four sections. The Origin section breaks down visitors in terms of hits, pages, and percentages. In the following directions, we briefly review each section. For extensive information on where your traffic is coming from

Direct Addresses/Bookmarks

The first origin in the list of site referrers is Direct Addresses and Bookmarks. Visitors who either typed in your URL by hand in response to some external prompt (usually an offline ad) as well as loyal visitors who have bookmarked your site are counted in this section. If you already have an established following or if you do a lot of offline advertising, a large percentage of your traffic natural falls under the Direct Address/Bookmarks section of your site referrer report.

Links from a NewsGroup

This section records how many visitors found your site through a newsgroup. A newsgroup is a Usenet discussion group that is related to one topic. Internet users can subscribe to many different newsgroups. Perhaps one of your traffic building strategies is to position yourself as an expert in a newsgroup on real estate. You would put your URL at the bottom of your signature, and anyone who sees it can visit you online. Google and Yahoo!, among other industry powerhouses, have newsgroups, but they are not as powerful of a tool for generating traffic as they once were. Some have blamed the decline of newsgroups on blogs and social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook. If you are spending several hours a week posting on newsgroups and have little to no traffic to show for it, your time might be better spent on some other traffic-building initiative (like blogging or social networking).

Links from an Internet Search Engine

A quick glance at the Links from an Internet Search Engine section records which search engines send traffic to your web site. Chances are that if your Web site is listed in a particular search engine, it will drive at least some traffic. You’ll notice that the chart breaks down the percentage of traffic that came from all search engines put together so you can compare it with other site referrers. One engine will likely drive the majority of your traffic. That could be because you are running paid advertising campaigns on that engine or that engine has more active spiders. Also known as Web crawlers or robots, spiders are programs or automated scripts that browse the Web. You might occasionally hear spiders referred to as ants, automatic indexers, bots, or worms. Search engines use spiders to gather up-to-date data as they index the Web.

Look for any niche search engines that drive traffic to your site. This is an area that you might want to exploit. Those niche engines, or other search engines that have the potential to drive more traffic to your site, could be hidden beyond the Top 10. Right next to the Links from an Internet Search Engine heading is a blue link that reads Full List. Be sure to click that link to see every engine that’s sending traffic your way.

Links from an External Page

This section shows site referrers that are not search engines. In other words, these sites referrers are other Web sites beyond Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and others. These external pages are listed first, second, third, and so on, based on how many visitors they referred to your site. The chart breaks down the percentage of traffic that came from all external pages put together so you can compare it with other site referrers. Be sure to go beyond the Top 10 external page referrals to see who else is sending traffic your way. You can do this by clicking the Full List heading right under the section header. It could be that the quality of traffic coming from blog sites is more valuable than traffic coming from content exchanges.


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