What Do Traffic Sources Reveal about Your Website?

Website analytics are more than just a way to measure success. They can also reveal important information about your visitors, and ways to better tailor your content according to their preferences.

Page views, likes, and comments are a few of the better-known metrics, but traffic sources can also be one of the most revealing bits of information available to site owners and content creators alike. How can you track where your visitors come from? And what does that mean for your content distribution strategy?

Tracking website statistics

You can keep tabs on your website’s daily visits, engagement rates, sources of referral traffic, and other relevant metrics using Google Analytics or WordPress.com’s built-in stats.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is available to sites on a WordPress.com Pro plan. But, if you have a custom domain, you can also register for a free account.

Google and WordPress analytics

After you register, it may take up to 48 hours for your site’s data to appear. Once it does, you’ll be able to view the number of visits you receive from various sources, such as social media platforms and search engines.

WordPress.com Stats

If you don’t need an analytics tool as robust as Google’s offering, every WordPress.com site, regardless of plan, has basic site stats.

WordPress Stats page

You can access a summary of the likes and comments on your latest posts, your most popular tags and categories, and any common sources of referral traffic.

Exploring common traffic sources

To grasp the concept of traffic sources, consider how you arrived at this very WordPress.com website.

  • If you clicked on a WordPress.com link while browsing through social media posts, then you were driven here by using a “social” traffic source.
  • If you arrived here by clicking on a backlink from another website, or WordPress.com/go article, it’s considered a “referring” traffic source.
  • If you typed something like “blogging platforms” into a search engine, then you used the “Google” or “search engine” traffic source.
  • If you knew from the start that you wanted to come to this website, and entered the URL directly into your browser, then you arrived here through “direct” traffic.

Other common traffic sources include “email” and “Pay Per Click,” which refers to paid search engine advertising campaigns.

Your traffic sources say a lot about your website

Knowing where your site visitors came from can reveal where your marketing strengths lie, and where you should make improvements.

As MonsterInsights highlights, if plenty of visitors reach your website through search engines, you’re likely using strong, straightforward keywords throughout your posts and pages. If few or none of your guests find your site this way, it indicates that you need to work on your search engine optimization (SEO) skills.

Alternatively, a steady increase in social traffic numbers suggests that your followers find your social media updates interesting, engaging, and share-worthy.

Summing it all up

Learning about website analytics is more than a numbers game. The more you understand about your visitors’ online habits, the better prepared you’ll be to appeal to new fans, encourage return visits, and keep visitors engaged.


Lorna Hordos

Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer.

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