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Traffic Report Tables
Row 14 - Total Visits From All Sources
Row 15 - Total Visitors

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14. Total Visits   - The sum of visits from all sources except spyders. The base count upon which all percentage metrics are calculated.

15. Total Visitors   - The count of all real people who visited. This is the metric that bridges your traffic report with your financial metrics. This is what to use for calculating conversion ratios. It is also what I used to rank customer sites from 1 to 60.

Details

Total Visits
The total visit count is used to calculate all of the percentages, you can call it the common denominator. The Online Advertising Industry standard is reporting traffic in Visits. Since visitors make visits, this metric shows how many times in a reporting period visitors visited your site. If your site is working well your total visits will be at least two times greater than your total visitors. This is because some visitors will come back to your site more than once in a reporting period, which is typically monthly.

Total Visitors
This shows the number of real people who visited your site during the reporting period. This is the metric used to develop conversion ratios, and some financial ratios. Improving the performance of the visit sources is for the purpose of raising your total site visitors. Be careful not to confuse "visitors" and "visits".

Visitors vs. Visits
The real story of your Web site activity (traffic) is told in the Visitor and Visit counts. Within the Online Advertising Industry the debate rages on about which number has more value. Without going into endless detail I will say that for the majority of area tourism businesses, the most important number of the Visitor vs. Visit debate is Visitors.

"Visitors" are real people, one set of eyeballs, looking at your Web site. Since real people, not robots, are what pick up the phone to make a reservation, we want to know how many people have looked at your Web site. Visitors are what convert into real business.

Written August 2008 by Gary Cooley