Traffic, Visitor, and Customer Analysis

    April 3, 2003

Percent Single Page Access

What it is: Single Access Page Visits divided by Entry Page Visits for a page

The Single Access Page report counts visits to a specific page where it was the only page looked at, and pages are ranked by number of visits. This is very much like One Page Visits from the last article, except the tracking is by each page as opposed to the entire site. In other words, if you added up all the individual Single Access Page Visits for each page you get One Page Visits for the whole site. This data can be an indicator of poor design or weak content on specific pages, and is great for identifying pages you probably need to work on.

To turn this data into a more actionable metric, I divide these Single Access Page Visits for a page by the total number of visits where that page was the Entry Page to the site. This number is in Top Entry Pages report, which counts the number of visits starting at a particular page. This ratio is the metric Percent Single Page Access, which measures the ability of a specific page to pull visitors into the site. Compare this with the previous metric Percent One Page Visits, which measures the ability of the site as a whole to pull visitors further into the site.

On my site (probably yours too), the home page is the primary Entry Page, so I start my measurement efforts there. As time allows, I move on to other important Top 10 Entry Pages, tweaking the message on each to minimize Percent Single Page Access visits on each page. On most sites, 80% – 90% of the traffic is coming in through the Top 10 Entry Pages. Start with these and you get the most bang for your buck on your efforts.

My objective on the home page is click-through / conversion – I want to pull the maximum percentage of people into the next level of the site that hit this page. I want to know how many people saw this page when they first hit the site and clicked through to another page. By dividing Single Access Page Visits by the Entry Page Visits for a page, I get a percentage that most accurately measures the objective – initial conversion from the home page to another page.

The above is an example of really thinking about your objective and what you are using to create your metrics. Follow this: if I used total views of the home page instead of Entry Page Views, I would be introducing “noise” to the conversion ratio objective, because some of these people would have seen other pages before they see the home page. I don’t want that, because it’s not important to the objective. I want to specifically measure the ability of the home page to take a visitor and get them to click deeper into the site. Don’t use total visits to or total views of a page you are looking to optimize for conversion because then you are including traffic that was there for a different reason. If you want to measure the ability of a page to pull visitors into the site, use only visits where this page was the Entry Page.

Then you track this percentage, make changes to the page, and look for trends. Each page will have some “beginning” percentage, and what you would like to see is the Percent Single Page Access visits fall over time as you tweak design and copy.

As a behaviorist, I don’t trust what customers say they want or will do, I watch what they actually do. It’s a simpler and much cleaner form of testing. If I write what I think is killer copy, and the Single Access Page Visits percentage rises, I was wrong. If the percentage falls, I was right. Too much time is spent on agonizing over surveys and other inconclusive evidence. Track the customer data. It will “speak” to you and tell you the answer. If you want to further qualify the behavior, then do your surveys. But always get the behavior first so you understand the issues and ask the right questions.

Here is a graph of Percent Single Page Access stats for my home page:

Again, the trend is generally down, meaning a higher percentage of visits to the home page are actually making it past this page and deeper into the site. You can also see in this graph the distinct change around day 67, when the new site went up, and the spikes up and down due to weekend activity being of low quality.

The other interesting feature of both this chart and the one in the last article is the wide fluctuations within the general trends. You know what those regular spikes up and down are caused by? Weekends. I get much higher “abandonment” of the home page on weekends, and much higher penetration into the site on weekdays, especially midweek. Makes sense; my site is really a business-to-business kind of thing.

Don’t ever let anybody tell you time of day or day of week don’t matter – the audience changes significantly by time of day and weekend versus weekday, and it may be in your interest to move with those changes, changing featured articles, products, or site functionality. It’s not for me, I’m too much of a “niche player”, but if you’re running a more general interest site, particularly if you are a retailer, it could be in your interest to test this.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to making sense of your visitor analysis reports, and I’m looking forward to your questions. And I hope the two examples of visitor metrics I provided were helpful. Make sure to download and try the free visitor metrics calculator, because if you don’t have a question now, you sure will after taking a look at all 24 of the metrics we came up with!


Get a free visitor metrics tool that takes numbers from your traffic analysis reports and creates important visitor metrics for you. To go to the download page for this free metrics calculator click here.

Jim Novo has nearly 20 years of experience using customer data to increase profits. He is co-author of The Guide to Web Analytics and author of Drilling Down:Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet. If you want more visitors to take action on your web site, try using the free conversion metrics calculator, downloadable here. If you need to sell more to customers while reducing marketing expenses, get the first nine chapters of the Drilling Down book free at

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