- Hitslink Overview
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What is Hitslink?
Hitslink is a service that enables you to analyse
the traffic that comes to your web site. It gathers
information about the visitors to your site using
a small script built into each page of your site
by NetSecrets. The information so gathered is
sent to the Hitslink database where it is accessible
in your account.
A range of reports tell you how many visitors
your site has had; how many pages they looked
at; which search engine they used to find you
and what search phrase they used. This information
helps you assess rationally where your efforts
should be directed to increase the success of
Hitslink has a reasonably comprehensive glossary
and help section so this guide is not intended
to be comprehensive. It is an attempt to define
the most important reports to look at and how
you might try to interpret the data. In many ways
Hitslink asks more questions than it answers but
does stimulate fresh thought on how your site
can meet your objectives for a successful online
The titles of the following paragraphs relate
to the items in the left-hand navigation bar on
the Hitslink main page, followed by any subsequent
choices offered. i.e. the next paragraph refers
to the Daily Traffic History Report which is accessed
by clicking on Traffic then >Traffic then >Detailed:
Traffic > Traffic > Detailed
This report shows a summary of visitors for the
past 7 days, although you should select a longer
timescale for more relevant results. Generally
you will be looking for a rising trend in numbers
of visitors and a decrease should certainly prompt
the question "Why?". It will show variations
for day of week; business sites tending to drop
off at weekends and consumer sites less so. You
can see seasonal variations and, especially for
gift sites and other business-to-consumer sites,
the effect of Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day,
This report also shows the number of pageviews
per day. If a visitor comes to the site and looks
at 4 different pages that generates one "visit"
and 4 "pageviews". So by comparing the
two numbers you can see how many pages, on average,
a visitor looks at before moving on. In general
the higher the ratio the more successful your
site is at engaging the interest of the visitor.
If the two figures are close together it probably
indicates that the home page is failing to engage
the visitor's interest or that they were looking
for something you don't provide.
This report also separately lists unique, monthly
unique and new visitors. A "new" visitor
is someone who has never been to your site before;
a "monthly unique" someone who has been
before but more than a month ago and a "unique"
is someone who has been before but not today.
Hitslink does not count repeat visits within a
single day. This data enables you to assess what
level of repeat visits you are receiving. For
most sites it is desirable to foster repeat visits
so it pays to have a strategy to make this happen.
For example offering special discounts to customers
who register with you. This breakdown lets you
measure how well you are achieving this objective.
Traffic > Traffic > Top Pages
This page shows in descending order how many
visitors have been to which pages of your site.
By default it shows this for current day but as
a rule you should look at a longer timescale to
get a better insight. At the top of the page you
can select a longer timescale. Week or month-to-date
is usually best but use your own judgement on
If your site sells umbrellas and fish tanks and
has a page on each and your expectation is for
80% of your visitors to be interested in umbrellas
and only 20% in fish tanks you would expect the
number of visitors to each page to roughly coincide
with that split. If not you might ask yourself
if the there is a bigger market for your fish
tanks than you had envisaged or are you failing
to put across the desirability of your wonderful
range of umbrellas.
It can also be enlightening to compare "pairs"
of pages. Say you have a prices page that clicks
on to an ordering page. By comparing numbers you
can see how many visitors looked at prices but
went no further. You could, for example, reduce
prices and see if this resulted in a higher conversion
rate, i.e. more people moving on from the prices
page to the ordering page.
Traffic > Search Engines > Search Engines
This report shows in descending order how many
visitors have come to your site from each of the
major search engines. Again select a timescale
that gives you a meaningful amount of data, week
or month-to-date is usually better than the default
of current day.
Google in its various guises should be the biggest
by far, remember that AOL merely "badges"
Google's results so both AOL and Google should
be added together. Yahoo! is second with MSN third
by some distance and all others probably account
for less than 5%.
Traffic> Search Engines > Search Terms
This report breaks down visitors according to
the search phrase they used in the search engine
where they found your site. It can highlight why
your conversion rate is lower than expected. For
example NetSecrets have a site selling SMS text
messaging software. It gets huge numbers of visitors
searching for "free SMS" but we don't provide
a free service just a paid for service. Equally
we found on our web hosting site that we were
getting many visitors searching for "Sequel
Server hosting". We did not supply this and
so the visitors were disappointed but this data
prompted us to add this service to our price list
and now we are getting orders for something we
hadn't previously considered.
Campaigns> Campaigns > Activity Summary
Not all users of Hitslink will necessarily make
use of this section. There is normally an extra
setup charge and a higher annual cost associated
with this campaign tracking service within Hitslink.
Basically it enables you to track traffic from
individual sources and analyse the outcome of
visits from each individual source. Used in conjunction
with "pay-per-click" advertising such
as Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing, Miva,
etc you can calculate your return on investment
for each advertising campaign. Additional scripts
can be added to enquiry forms, download pages
and even order-taking pages so that potentially
you could see that over a given time a specific
campaign led to 150 visitors of whom 25 filled
in the enquiry form, 10 downloaded product data
sheets and 5 placed orders.
This is set up specifically for each site and
if you are interested in this service please contact
Decisions relating to your online business are
more likely to succeed if based on fact rather
than guesswork or, worse still, prejudice. Hitslink
provides much of the data needed to make informed
decisions and to measure their effect. Set aside
10 to 15 minutes at least twice a week to view
the data Hitslink provides and you will begin
to understand how your site works for your potential
customers, then you can try out improvements and
see whether they make a difference for good or
For further information please contact us on
01905 672591 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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