Web Site Statistics: Are your users coming via the front door?

Learn more about Web Site Statistic. This instalment discusses Entry Pages - How users enter your web site.

Digital Marketing

Understanding Entry Pages.

In our previous article we discussed some basics on understanding the traffic coming to your web site; visitor numbers, page views and traffic sources. We still have to cover entry and exit pages.

Again let’s be generic so it does not matter if you are using statistics software like, Webalizer, AWstats or Google Analytics the concept is roughly the same.

Entry and Exit pages are just that: the page that a user enters your web site and the page that a user exits your web site. Ideally they won’t be the same page, or you have just lost a visitor without impressing them!

When constructing a web site a lot of focus is usually placed on the Home Page, web developers still consistently make this a very big focus during the design process. Sure it needs to be slick and do all the things that a Home Page does, but the reality is not everyone is going to visit your site via the front door.

A user will only enter via the front door when they type in your domain name – sampledomain.com.au and then visit your site, or perhaps when you have a link to your site from another.

The longer your web site is on the Internet, the more it will be indexed by search engines, hopefully you will have many interesting pages that a search engine will spider through and display in the results when people search for keywords relevant to your site.

Here’s the catch. The search engine won’t always show up your Home Page. More often than not Google or Yahoo will display an internal page within your site in the result set that it shows a user. The user clicks on that and they enter your site directly at that level, not the Home Page.

Let’s take a practical look at this.

Go to your Web Site Statistics software that you use and look specifically for Entry Pages.

Most good software will show you for a given period (eg a month) what the top Entry Page was followed by perhaps the top 10 Entry Pages? Your Home Page may be on the list, don’t be surprised if its not at the top of the list.

Now use these results to retrace your user’s experience. Work out from the results what the entry page was, get that URL and visit that first up. See your web site from the perspective of a user coming off a search engine.

When looking at this page, ask yourself this.

  • Does not coming via the Home Page mean that a users misses some of the key focuses of your web site?
  • Is vital information available to the user on this page, telephone numbers, address or similar?
  • Are you running a promotion or other important information that is only available on the Home Page and so a users will miss it?

If the answer to all of the above is positive then you don’t have a problem, if not you perhaps need to consider the layout of the internal pages of your site to rectify the problem(s)

Reader Interactions


  1. Christine says

    Thanks for the explanation Peter. Could you throw light on why the entry page name doesn’t show in the search terms though? eg if a site of animals.com has a page animals.com/cats.html with the word cats featuring on the page, shouldn’t there be a link between cats as a search term and the entry page of cats.html say using awstats? I find it hard finding out how people can enter the site on the more obscure pages especially when my search for this page doesn’t throw anything up. Am I misunderstanding the ‘entry’ explanation? Thanks

    • Peter Shilling says

      Christine, I’ve not used awstats for some time now, preferring to use Google Analytics for web stats.

      However, from memory awstats does not show search terms for entry pages. To clarify an entry page is simply the first page that a users views when arriving at your site. It is not always going to be the home page, particularly if they’ve found you via a search engine.

      In awstats you should certainly be able to see entry pages as an option and this will show you which of your pages is the most popular _first_ page.

      Hope that helps.


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