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The Site Report in Depth

What’s in the Report

Here’s a guide to all the measures you’ll find in your Site Report.

Remember, you’ll get two site reports: one that shows all visits, and one that shows only external visits.

Measure What It Is What It Means
Visits The number of visits to the website. Google Analytics defines a visit as one visitor visiting the site. All pages visited by a single visitor within a thirty-minute time frame are counted as a single visit. If a visitor leaves the site for more than thirty minutes and then returns, it is logged as an additional visit. In general, more visitors are better. But quality counts—take a look at how long they stay, how many are new, and (on the content analysis) how many complete a website goal, too.
Unique Visitors Google Analytics’ best approximation of the number of people who have visited your website. (Technically, we’re counting computers, not people. So if a single person visits the site once from their work computer and once from their home computer, that is counted as two unique visitors.) Your best count of how many people actually come to your website. As above, more is better, but look at other measures to better gauge the quality of your visitors and the quality of their experience on your website
Pageviews Total number of pages viewed. A single pageview is the loading of one page into a browser. Each time a visitor reloads the same page, it counts as an additional pageview. Pageviews give some indication of how much interest visitors have in your content. They get really useful when you look at them in terms of pages/visit (below).
Unique Pageviews The same as pageviews, except that reloads by the same user during the same visit are not counted. Because unique pageviews don’t count reloaded pages, they can give a better picture of interest in your content. This can be especially helpful when students, faculty, or staff use your website as a home page, which tends to artificially inflate pageviews.
Pages/Visit The average number of pages a visitor to your site visits. This is calculated by dividing the total pageviews by the number of visits. The best measure of how much time visitors are spending with your content. For a content site, you are probably looking to increase pageviews, which would indicate more interest in your content. For a service-oriented site, lower pageviews may be more desirable, as this would indicate that visitors find what they need more quickly.
Avg. Time on site The average time, in minutes and seconds, that visitors spent on your website. If you are trying to engage visitors with content, you should aim for more time on site. Service-oriented sites will want this to be lower.
Bounce Rate Percentage of visits that were bounces. In web analytics terminology, a bounce is a one-page visit A bounce means a visitor came, saw what you had, then left. Generally, you want this percentage to be as low as possible. The exception would be a site whose job is to deliver visitors to another website (like the URSA page, for instance.)
% New Visits Percentage of visits that were from visitors coming to the site for the first time. Recruitment-oriented sites will want to see a higher percentage of new visitors. This number is likely to be lower if your site is oriented toward IUP students, faculty, and/or staff.

Actions to Take

Here’s the important part: based on the numbers in your report, you need to take action to improve your site. Here are some basic strategies:

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