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Website traffic reports and demystifying the "no referrer" metric

Throwback Article
Website traffic reports and demystifying the

In previous articles I've written about the importance of traffic reports and how they help us understand user behavior and our progress at meeting website objectives. From determining monthly website visitors to calculating home page effectiveness, these reports are critical to online success.

For this article, let's take a look at referring pages, the mysterious "no referrer" metric and what they mean in business terms. 

Referring pages are self-explanatory. The most common are search engines, directories and industry portals. Once in a while you'll find an unfamiliar referring page inside your report. When that happens, simply follow the link back to investigate. 

Ok, but what about the "no referrer" or the "unknown referrer" metric? Where do those visitors really come from? 

Let's take a closer look... 

Bookmark Files
When a visitor returns to your website from a bookmark or favorites file, your traffic report will count that visit with an unknown or no referrer. website bookmarks can also be placed on a computer's desktop or configured through the browser's "my homepage" feature. 

Text-based Email Links
When a visitor follows a link contained in a text-based email, the website's traffic report will count that visit with an unknown or no referrer. This also applies to links inside email signature files and links distributed through text-based newsletters. However, if a visitor follows a link contained in a web-based email program (such as Yahoo or Hotmail), its referring page will register in the traffic report because those email programs are actually composed of web pages.

Manual Entries
The browser responds to this command much like the bookmark file. When a visitor manually types your web address into the browser's address bar, your traffic report counts that visit with an unknown or no referrer. Therefore, those who reference your print material (brochures, catalogs and business cards) to find your website are also counted as unknown or no referrers. Other manual entries can be driven by word of mouth, billboard ads, radio and television commercials. 

Copy and Paste
Similar to manual entries, visitors often copy web addresses from electronic mediums and paste them into the browser's address bar. So again, online newsletters, announcements and other web pages can be the driving force of visitors. 

Spawned Web Pages
A spawned web page is a non-competing way of linking two web pages together. The referring page "launches" the destination page in a second browser window above the original. Spawned web pages discard the referring page information and count each visit with a no or unknown referrer. Other spawned web pages can originate from partner page listings, animated ads and traditional banner ads. 

Website programmers and website visitors control whether or not a page is spawned. Programmers obviously use code, but visitors can do it with their mouse. 

To spawn a second browser window while using Internet Explorer, "right-click" on a link and select "Open link in new window" or simply hold down "shift" and click the link. 

So what do these five metrics mean in business in terms? 

For the most part, it's a good indication of your brand's popularity and value. To track this, compare the total number of no referrers against the total number of referring pages every month. That rate represents the percentage of Web site visitors that have already interacted with your brand prior to visiting your website. 

For example, those who return via bookmark have already interacted with your website. Those who manually enter your web address have already been exposed to your other marketing channels. And those who have followed email links were most likely encouraged by your message or an outside endorsement. 

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The Website Profit Doctors are a Chicago Area Website Help Company who can transform your “information only” website into a profitable customer acquisition tool.

Primary website help services
include: Website Improvements, Website Redesigns & Makeovers, Custom Website Development, Responsive Website Development, Google AdWords Advertising, Bing Ads Advertising, Google Analytics Set Up, Strategic Planning & Coaching, Competitive Intelligence & Research, Purchase Process Assessments, Lead Capture Assessments, Website Maintenance & Support Packages.

Primary website help products include: Small Business eCommerce Website, Small Business Blog Website, Small Business Website.

Blog information and opinions herein reflect the most accurate information at the time of publication and are subject to change. Readers are free to forward this article in its entirety, but may not sell, barter or leverage it for commercial profit or gain.

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tooltipName
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tooltipService Need
tooltipComments, Questions & Feedback

Announcements

Announcement_Website Profit Doctors launch its new company website Website Profit Doctors launch its new company website

Our new fully responsive, multi-device compatible website is here.

Archives >

Customer Breakthroughs

Breakthrough_Google AdWords Management helps save company $500,000 in 1 year Google AdWords Management helps save company $500,000 in 1 year
After 1 year of routine campaign management, spending only 4 - 5 hours per month, we improved all metrics (average position, click through rate, cost per lead, and click conversion rate).

Archives >