Knowing who is landing on your website can give you an insight on where your visitors are coming from, and how your marketing strategy is performing. One thing to keep in mind is that the data in the statistics has been simplified and assumptions have been made to do this. This can lead to some misrepresentation - so keep in mind that the statistics should be used as a guide.

Ever see the claim "We get 90,000 hits a month" on a web site? A "hit" is not a visitor to the web site, but a hit on the web server. So, if a site has 89 small graphics on the page, every visitor to the site registers as 90 hits on the server (89 graphics plus the html file). In this case, 90,000 hits translates to just 1,000 visitors.

As webmasters, designers, business owners, SEOs, etc., we are not concerned with hits to a site. We want to know the number of visitors to our site. And we don't just want to know about every visitor--we want to know about every unique visitor.

Understanding the terms is a big step in understanding your statistics - so here we go...

Glossary of Terms.

Unique Visitors:
A unique visitor is somebody with a unique IP that has found your web site. If this visitor makes several visits during the month, it is counted only once. This can be a bit misleading because dial-up visitors and people who turn their modems off get a new IP each time they log on - so sometimes you can have the same person visit multiple times but register as a unique visitor.
Webcrawlers are not included in this statistic.

Number of Vists:
Number of visits made by all visitors.
The number of visits are the total number of visits by all visitors over a given period of time (including repeat visitors). If I visit your site and then come back four more times you should see one Unique visit by me, and five Number of visits by me.
Webcrawlers are not included in this statistic.

Visits Duration:
This is an important one. Here you can tell how long visitors are staying on your site.
Keep in mind that all the repeat visitors are tallied here - not just the unique visitors.
Sometimes visitors will jump to your site to find a link to another - and hence will only take a few seconds.
Sometimes people make your site their default home page - and jump quickly away after opening their browsers.
People who jumped to your site by mistake will be tallies here. Perhaps they were looking for something else.
Ideally you are after Visitors that stay longer than 30seconds. This means that they hung around long enough to read something.

Pages Logged:
When somebody looks at a page on your site they are logged here. This includes HTML and CGI type files. This does not include images, java script or CSS and the like.

A hit is any file requested from the server. This will include things like HTML, images, java, CSS, etc. Say if you have 3 gif images on your page and somebody lands on it, you will receive 3 + 1 hits. The extra 1 is for the page itself (html).

Connect to Site from ...
Links from an Internet Search Engine:
From these stats you can see if people are finding you through the Search engines. If this number is low, it would be best to do some more marketing and get more external to your page.

Links from an external page:
Here you  can see the external websites which link to this website. Backlinks are not only important for targeted traffic but also to increase search engine rankings, so backlinks increase traffic directly and indirectly. If your own website is of high quality and a similar topic, you can email the people who link to the website you are analysing and ask them for a link to your website and there is a high chance they will do so.

Search Keyphrases (Top 20):
If your competitors are receiving traffic for a certain keyword that is proof that the keyword is worth ranking for. You can find out how competitive each keyword is by searching for the keyword in quotation marks in Google and checking how many results are returned.

Total number of bytes for pages, images and files downloaded by web browsing.
This number includes only traffic for web only. This number is often lower than bandwidth reported by your provider because your provider counts bandwidth at a lower level, including all IP and UDP traffic.

Entry Page:
First page viewed by a visitor during its visit.
Note: When a visit started at end of month to end at beginning of next month, you might have an Entry page for the month report and no Exit pages. That's why Entry pages can be different than Exit pages.

Exit Page:
Last page viewed by a visitor during its visit.
Note: When a visit started at end of month to end at beginning of next month, you might have an Entry page for the month report and no Exit pages.That's why Entry pages can be different than Exit pages.

Session Duration:
The time a visitor spent on your site for each visit.
Some Visits durations are 'unknown' because they can't always be calculated. This is the major reason for this:
- Visit was not finished when 'update' occurred.
- Visit started the last hour (after 23:00) of the last day of a month (A technical reason prevents AWStats from calculating duration of such sessions).

A browser that is used primarily for copying locally an entire site. These include for example "teleport", "webcapture", "webcopier"...

Direct access / Bookmark:
This number represent the number of hits or ratio of hits when a visit to your site comes from a direct access. This means the first page of your web site was called:
- By typing your URL on the web browser address bar
- By clicking on your URL stored by a visitor inside its favorites
- By clicking on your URL found everywhere but not another internet web pages (a link in a document, an application, etc...)
- Clicking an URL of your site inside a mail is often counted here.


Add To Favourites:
This value, available in the "miscellaneous chart", reports an estimated indicator that can be used to have an idea of the number of times a visitor has added your web site into its favourite bookmarks.

The technical rules for that is the following formula:
Number of Add to Favourites = round((x+y) / r)
x = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/anydir/favicon.ico", with a referer field not defined, and with no 404 error code
y = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/favicon.ico", with a referrer field not defined, with or without 404 error code
r = Ratio of hits made by IE browsers compared to hits made by all browsers (r <= 1)

As you can see in formula, only IE is used to count reliable "add", the "Add to favourites" for other browsers are estimated using ratio of other browsers usage compared to ratio of IE usage. The reason is that only IE do a hit on favicon.ico nearly ONLY when a user add the page to its favourites. The other browsers make often hits on this file also for other reasons so we can't count one "hit" as one "add" since it might be a hit for another reason.

Note that this number is just an indicator that is in most case higher than true value. The reason is that even IE browser sometimes make hit on favicon without an "Add to favourites" action by a user.