Useless Web Site Metrics

The success of your small business website depends on the web metrics you choose to measure, the data you capture and the actions you determine to apply on your web site.

Google Analytics, a free web analytics tool, offers multiple reports with many web metrics (Google Analytics metrics) for you to analyze the performance of your site.

    Google Analytics Web Metrics

Web metrics below were used to determine websites’ success in the old days.

Page Views

Page views can be defined as the total number of pages viewed during a single visitor session to your website. The metric is useful to indicate your site’s traffic load, but provides little value as a marketing measure.

The page views concept relies on the definition of a page. A unique page is defined by a unique URL or a URL plus appended parameters. Nowadays, websites are far more complicated with the use of rich media (e.g. flash, Ajax and YouTube videos), it has caused the measure of page views becoming obsolete.

Depth of Visit

Depth of Visit indicates your visitors’ page views per visit to your site. However, either a lower-than-average or a higher-than-average page views per visit will not tell you about how well or bad your visitors engage with your site.

Lower-than-average depth of visit means your site may have:

  • Good site navigation
  • Too few products or services to choose from
  • Nothing that the visitors want

Higher-than-average depth of visit means your visitors have been:

  • Browsing your site purposelessly
  • Frustrated by the site search’s ability to find them what they were looking for
  • Confused by your site’s poor site navigation
    Confusing Faceted Search

Top Exit Pages

An exit page is the last page that your visitor views your site during a visit and indicates the end of this visitor’s session. The web pages with the highest number of exits can mean:

  • Your pages are poorly designed (e.g. Poor site layout, bad background colors)
  • Your visitors find exactly what they want on those pages

The top exit pages or exit page rates does not tell whether you should improve your page.

Time on Site

Time on site is the length of visit on your website. A high time on site indicates your visitors may be interacting extensively with your site. However, high time on site can be misleading:

  • Your visitors may have a hard time finding what they want
  • Your visitors leave their browser windows open when they are not actually viewing or using your website

Occam’s Razor explains how time on page and time on site are calculated.


The importance of page views, depth of visit, top exit pages and time on site as web metrics have long gone. It is time to define and measure new and useful web metrics for your site.


3 Responses to “Useless Web Site Metrics”

  1. on July 18th, 2009 10:03 pm

    [eng] Metriche inutili…

    Pagine viste, profondit√† della visita, pagine principali e durata di uscita sono ormai in disuso….

  2. TG on July 19th, 2009 10:52 am

    In that case, what’s the web metrics that can applicable to site in general?

  3. phyllis on July 23rd, 2009 7:26 am

    good post, study data deeply can avoid your data to blind yourself.

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