Essential Website Metrics You Should Be Tracking
Launching or revising your new website is one thing. Consistently measuring, tracking and evaluating results is another thing entirely. What should you be measuring and why? Here are some key front line metrics that will help you evaluate the marketing impact of your site:
- Site traffic. Whether your site currently attracts 10 visitors a month or 10,000, you need to measure your site traffic. Traffic levels function like a barometer to help gauge the overall effectiveness of your website. For example, if you find that levels are consistently low, you’ll know that you need to begin thinking about ways to generate more traffic regularly. If traffic levels dip suddenly or precipitously, it can possibly indicate a mechanical problem with the website.
- Traffic sources. The next step in analyzing your website metrics should be isolating and identifying the sources or origin of that traffic. There are a number of tools, like Google Analytics, that help users determine where their traffic is coming from, which can include multiple avenues on the web. Being able to visually represent the data with charts and graphs help tremendously, as in the example below. Common sources include direct traffic (visitors entering in your URL directly into their browser), organic search, social media and advertising campaigns.
- Visitor engagement. Next you’ll need to focus on visitor interaction with your website. Ideally, you want people to stay longer, visit more than one page, and exit your site from a different page than the one they landed on originally. In order to make that happen, you’ll need to make some changes over time that stem from analysis of your own visitors’ behavioral patterns while on your site. Secondary metrics in this category include bounce rate, time on site, number of pages viewed. You’ll also want to consider how frequently visitors orbit your website, that is, visit your site and return within a certain period of time for another look.
- Conversion rate. Conversion, in website terms, refers to a visitor who takes a specifically desired and measured action upon reaching your site. A conversion can be the purchase of a product or service, filling out a form for a consultation with your office, or downloading a specific piece of content. Ideally, your website is set up as a conversion vehicle and you are able to track those events as they happen over time. Be sure to track the true conversion rate(s) however. We’ll define that as the number of conversions or desired outcomes/the number of unique visitors to your site.
Regardless of how awesome your site is, you can’t measure and improve it without the right tools and without knowing what to look for. The metrics in this article focus on both the quantity and quality of your visitors. Measuring them and keeping historical records will help you track progress, make improvements and stay on top of your website’s actual contribution to your business.