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Referral Madness: Why Website Referral Stats Are So Important

Info about your website referral statistical data.

Do you know where your website traffic comes from?

If you answer no, you cannot take advantage of some great information at your fingertips. This info is called your referrers.

Referrers are where your traffic comes from before visitors land at your site, where your site visitors were when they clicked on a link to enter your website. Your hosting server tracks this info no matter what type of site you have HTML, WordPress, Joomla, PHP, or ASP.

You would be negligent not to take advantage of what these details can offer your website marketing strategy. Referral statistics are a gold mine of data to help you grow your online business. So let’s dive in with the basics so you can use this information to y our advantage.

Referral stats are invaluable because you can…

  • See what websites are linking to you so you can visit them, thank them and open a dialog for future collaboration.
  • Get a good idea of what information folks are most interested in. Not only because you were linked to it but also because many folks followed that link to see what you have to say on the topic. Now you know what to provide more information on!
  • Review what pages within your website are doorways or first impressions can improve upon or rework them if necessary. You can also create specific Calls to Action on the entry pages to take advantage of that topic-specific traffic.

Don’t fall into the trap that your “home page” is where everyone will enter your site. The fact is many don’t. Instead, they’ll follow referrers from search engines and other sites to internal pages within your website.

When you know where your traffic is coming from, what topics searchers find interesting, and what pages keep them on your site and cause visitors to follow links to more of your hand-crafted offerings — you then know what’s hot!

How to Find Referrals in Google Analytics

If you are still on the Universal Google Analytics platform, time to move to the next generation of Analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Universal will stop reporting next year, so the sooner you start accumulating data on the new platform, the better.

When you are in your Google Analytics dashboard for your site, gravitate to Reports> Acquisition. Then in the search bar above, type referral sources. In the sidebar, you will find the sites that referred visitors to yours, including search engines.

Where to Find Referral Stats in Google Analytics.
Where to Find Referral Stats in Google Analytics

While you are there, check out “Acquisition Overview.” This area will provide a view of your referral numbers compared to Direct, Organic Search, Social traffic, and Countries. Also, search for “referral landing pages” to discover what pages first-time users landed on within your site. This is necessary data to determine where your traffic is coming from.

Why Referrals Matter

So you can take action! You can use this information to provide more of the content stats show are worth linking to.

  • You can build upon what’s there and look for ways to entice visitors into signing up to receive your posts.
  • Add Calls To Action (CTA) to contact you for more information.
  • Beef up info about your services or segue into closely related topics that visitors will also be interested in.
  • WordPress has several related article plugins that will suggest content to keep folks on your site. I use Yoast SEO Premium, which includes a widget I can add at the bottom of every post and page.

Who doesn’t want visitors that stick around longer to read more of our content? Use your referral data to do just that.

If you are not hooked up to Google Analytics, go to your hosting dashboard. You should find your referrers in the Logs section under names like Webalizer, AWStats, or Urchin, to name a few. To find out where your stats are located, search your hosting provider’s Knowledge Base for “visitor stats,” and they’ll point you in the right direction.

If you don’t have a host that offers this necessary and valuable information, move to a host that does. Or find out how to or get help on hooking up Google Analytics. This is information that is not on a need-to-know basis — this is the info you need to know now.

At your service,
Judith: WordPress Consultant and Coach

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