Gone are the days when a website was simply designed with its good looks in mind. Today, your site serves as a useful tool for your business. And regardless of how well you think it’s performing, you’ll never truly know unless you review and analyze the metrics around it.
Below are a few tips to give you some direction on where to get started in monitoring your website, plus five metrics you need to follow to analyze this important information.
Set SMART Goals
Before you can even begin diving into your website metrics, you must have a firm understanding of what you are trying to achieve so that you can properly track against those objectives. These goals need to be SMART, meaning:
Without these five attributes, it’s easier to get distracted. SMART goals will keep you in line.
For example, if you have a goal to grow your business, change it to something like:
I want to increase our number of customers by 150% by December 31, 2017, through content marketing efforts.
This specificity will give you a concrete figure to work towards.
Along with your goal setting, you need to establish benchmarks so that you have the knowledge of where you’re starting from. Be sure to document this somewhere that is easy to reference as you monitor your website metrics down the line.
It’s also a good idea to do some competitive research and see some of their benchmarks as well so that you know where you fall in your industry.
Website Metrics to Watch
Now, on to the good stuff! If you’ve ever even glimpsed at an analytics dashboard, you know there are seemingly infinite metrics that you can be tracking—but not all of these are imperative to keep a close eye on for your business.
While the core metrics you focus on should directly relate to your business and the goals you’ve set, below are a few general metrics to keep an eye on.
1. Website Traffic
Not knowing how much traffic is coming to your website is a problem (because if people aren’t coming to your site, they don’t see your amazing products and services!). It’s important to recognize dips and spikes in traffic and to have an understanding of why those events occurred either to repeat efforts in the future (for spikes) or to avoid tactics and errors (to avoid dips).
Keep track of new versus returning visitors. This comparison will help you understand if you are attracting the same visitors over and over again, or if awareness of your company is expanding to new audiences. To make sure these numbers are accurate, it’s important to filter out your company IP addresses. You don’t want your analytics to track employee engagement over and over again on the site.
2. Traffic Sources
To optimize your business and marketing efforts, you need to have an understanding of more than just whether or not your website is attracting visitors. You need to know where your traffic is coming from.
Common sources include:
- Direct – People go to your website directly.
- Organic – People land on your website from search engine results pages.
- Referral – Traffic is sent to you from a referring source, such as another website or directory.
- Social – Traffic is sent to your from social media platforms.
Understanding your sources will help you understand where you’re performing well and which areas you can improve upon. For example, if you notice you aren’t getting a lot of organic traffic, you may want to consider beefing up your keyword and SEO strategy.
3. Bounce Rate and Exit Pages
Your bounce rate is measured by the percentage of visits that only go to one page on your website before leaving the site. People may leave your website for a variety of reasons, including:
- Poor user interface and functionality
- Lengthy page load time
- Poor visual design
- Accidently clicking through to your site while looking for something else
The list of reasons goes on. To improve bounce rate, be sure to provide the best experience possible for your visitors. Provide quality content, a user-friendly and customer-focused experience, and exceptional value to your visitors so you can keep them around longer.
Determining whether your current bounce rate is considered good or bad depends on the industry, but as a general rule of thumb, if your bounce rate is below 40%, you’re doing well. Even so, it’s important to strive to improve your own bounce rate. If the rate continues to improve over time, you’re doing something right.
Where a bounce represents a one-page visit, an exit means the user visited more than one page on your website before leaving. If you can see a pattern where people tend to leave the most, this will give you an idea of the pages of the site you need to work on. Keep in mind that some pages will naturally have high exit rates, such as confirmation pages. Clearly, those pages don’t need to be revised, as that’s the nature of the page. However, if a landing page with a seemingly enticing offer has a high exit rate, then you have work to do.
4. Average Time on Site
This metric will let you know how much time on average you have to get your point across to your visitors. Additionally, it’s a strong indicator as to whether or not your content is engaging. The more people are interested in what they’re seeing, the longer they’ll stay on your site.
This metric can be looked at as a site, as well as broken into average time on pages. Pages that hold your visitors’ attention the most often give you the most qualified visitors. Consider placing calls-to-action on these pages to increase your odds of conversion.
5. Conversion Rate
Conversion is one of the ultimate success metrics. Measuring conversion rate can be confusing, because the fact is, there are numerous types of conversions you can be tracking, whether it be converting visitors to leads or leads to customers, or something basic like a landing or email conversion.
Your conversion rate is simply the number of people who completed a desired goal on your website against the total number of visitors. If your conversion rates increase, you know you’re giving your audience what they want. If conversions remain the same, or decrease, make adjustments to your site where you see the lowest percentages.
Pulling the right information doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. In fact, you can hire a virtual assistant to pull monthly stats on your website and provide you with the data you need to stay on track with your goals.
By choosing the right tools, knowing what to look for, and acting on the results you find, you’ll set your company up for success to continuously improve and get closer to the ideal online customer experience.