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Cliff notes to understand Web Stat reports?

Here’s a new blog feature I’m beginning this week. if you have a question about online marketing, be sure and submit it at Ask Donna Gunter. I’ll reprint both the question and answer in the blog each week.

Q:  Do you have any great (and simple) resources for learning about web stat reporting, in non-techie language?
Janet Anderton, CPVA –THE Detail Diva
Certified Professional Virtual Assistant

A:  Great question, Janet!  The program that I use to track my own stats is called 123Stat, and I love the fact that the reports aren’t in Geek-ese and are very easy to understand.

Here’s one link and one reprint of great articles that explain what you’re seeing in your stat reports:

1.  By Eileen Parzek of Business Design Studio (great overview of basic definitions)

2.  By Alexandria Bown (send for her free calculations template):

What You MUST Understand About Your Web Numbers
By Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen"

Five years ago, when I first started selling online, I focused on doing what I did best: generating useful content that people would want to pay for. But I quickly learned that selling a product online required me to have to learn about …

…my Web statistics.


"Why should I have to do this?" I thought. "I’m not a numbers person. Such small details! I want to spend time on big ideas."

Then after a few months of poor sales, I realized I needed to learn more about my numbers so I could learn how to improve my results. (You can’t improve something that you can’t measure.) After getting acquainted with my stats, I not only realized that this information would help me immensely, but I was relieved that it wasn’t so hard after all. It had just been something unfamiliar.

There are four types of basic "Web numbers" I want you to understand. Don’t worry — if I can handle this, you can too!

1. Sales

HOW MANY SALES are you making? This should be easy to determine on your end.

2. Unique Visitors

HOW MANY PEOPLE are visiting your sales page? To know this, you’ll need to know your number of unique visitors for that specific page.

Do NOT confuse unique visitors with "hits," which refers to number of graphics downloaded.

Your Web host may already provide some stats you can access, but many of these programs are hard to understand and only track hits. If this is the case, it’s well worth it to use a low-cost outside tracking service such as that will show you your number of unique visitors. (I use them and love their service.)

3. Sales Conversion Rate

Here’s where we start with some math. Take your number of sales during a given time, and divide it by your number of visitors during that time. We’ll walk through this in a minute.

4. Value per Visitor

This tells you how much each visitor is worth to you. It’s basically your selling price times your conversion rate.

Let’s Walk Through It Together

Say Suzy Q runs a site that sells a special report on how to teach your dog to do a back flip. The report sells for $20.

Last month she had 50 online sales. Her Web stats show that during that month she had 1,500 unique visitors.

First let’s figure her sales conversion rate — sales divided by visitors.
50 / 1,500 = .0333. We’ll round it down to .03. (If we’re talking about percentages, that’s about 3%. Or 3 sales for every 100 visitors.)

Now, let’s determine her value per visitor.

The report sells for $20, and we now know that her sales conversion rate is .03.

So .03 x $20 = $0.60.

That means each visitor is worth 60 cents to Suzy, whether they buy or not.

(Here’s a longer way of doing this, but it may make more sense to you: Based on Suzy’s current conversion rate, she makes an average of 3 sales per 100 visitors. 3 x $20 = $60. So for every 100 visitors she makes an average of $60. $60 / 100 visitors = $0.60 per visitor.)

This number tells Suzy how much it’s worth spending to get a visitor to her site. For example, if she decides to advertise on a pay-per-click search engine, she knows that $0.60 is the maximum she’d want to bid.

Want My FREE Calculations Template?

Would you like a free fill-in-the-blanks template to help you make the calculations above? I’ve put one together for you! Send a blank e-mail to and you should receive it automatically.

What to DO With Your Numbers

First of all, look at your unique visitors. If your numbers aren’t as high as you’d like, work on attracting more prospects to your site via your e-zine, search engine listings, advertisements, articles, etc.

Then look at your sales conversion rate. The average for information products is actually around only 1%, according to both my testing and that of my colleagues. (So don’t get upset if that’s where you’re at!) Often my conversion rate is a lot higher, but it depends on who’s visiting that sales page. My conversion rate will be a lot higher if I’m sending my own subscribers there (people who already know, like, and trust me) versus strangers who found me from a search engine or other website. Make sense?

Aim to continually improve your sales page to boost your results.

Keep a log of what changes you make and when you make them so you can see which factors help or hinder your sales. (There’s a place for these notes in that template I created for you.)

You should also do simple "split tests", but I’ll go into that another time.

Don’t Wait Any Longer!

Remember, you can’t improve something you can’t measure. Take a few minutes and start tracking these things. I guarantee that once you do, you’ll actually enjoy this process, because it gives you the power to continually IMPROVE. : )

© 2003-2006 Alexandria K. Brown

Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," publishes the award-winning ‘Straight Shooter Marketing’ weekly ezine with 19,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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