Traffic Sources: Where Are Your Visitors Coming From?

Check your blog’s statistics. Where are your visitors coming from? Are they mainly typing-in your blog’s URL, coming from search engine results pages (SERPs), or are they being referred to you from other sites?

Google Analytics puts an overview of this information on their dashboard, and offers more detailed data on a separate page.

The Traffic Sources chart on the Analytics Dashboard provides some valuable insight on your readers, and how they view your blog.

What do the numbers mean?

  • Referring Sites, er, refers to how many unique visitors came from other sites. E.g. blogs linking to you, traffic from social bookmarking sites.
  • Search Engines – the traffic coming from SERPs.
  • Direct Traffic – People who manually typed your domain in.

Direct Traffic is mainly composed of the people who visit your site frequently. This includes RSS subscribers manually visiting your sites, as well as links clicked from desktop RSS aggregators.

Referring Sites means “pretty much anything coming from another domain.” This includes social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg, links clicked from web-based RSS aggregators, and links from other blogs.

Optimally, you want to have a significant amount of direct traffic, signifying loyal readers, plenty of referrals, and some steady traffic from search engines. The ratios between the percentages depends on many factors, such as your niche. If there are a lot of blogs in your niche, you may have a lot of referrals. The same goes for if your site is popular among the StumbleUpon and Digg crowd. Smaller niches may have more traffic from search engines than referrals.

How are your blog’s traffic sources proportioned?