You may think your website is performing well, but is it? Once you’ve built a site to specs, and you’re sure it shows off your brand in a flattering and persuasive way, you may feel confident that it’s going to be an effective tool for increasing revenue for your business. However, without objective evidence, there’s no way to be certain that your marketing tactics or onsite features are leading to beneficial results.
You’ll need to look to key performance indicators (KPIs), or metrics that indicate your site’s performance, if you want to prove your return on investment (ROI), or pinpoint areas that need to be improved. But what metrics should you look for?
Top Metrics to Consider
These are the metrics you should be measuring consistently, month after month, as you build and grow your website. How they change over time will inform you how your strategies are working, and give you direction for your next moves:
1. Traffic. Your first job is to measure the traffic coming into your site—and where it’s coming from. Obviously, attracting more visitors is better for almost any website, but an increase in a certain area—such as social media traffic, or organic search traffic—could signal that one of your marketing strategies is more valuable than the others. Also, take heed if your traffic suddenly drops off, or if it fails to grow measurably over time.
2. Behavior. Next, take a look at what your visitors are doing once they get to your site. What page do they usually find first? How many pages do they view after that? Do they bounce after viewing only one page, or do they struggle to find the most important pages of your site, such as your “contact" page? This information is vital if you want to optimize your website to support a single goal. Google Analytics has a behavior-based flow chart that makes it easy to visualize these patterns.
3. Conversions. Depending on the nature of your site, “conversion" could mean different things. For an e-commerce platform, a conversion usually means a customer buying a product, but for a B2B site, it’s usually filling out a contact form or downloading a piece of content. Either way, you’ll need to study your conversion rate—this is usually where a site makes all its money, so even if your traffic is high, if your conversion rates are low, you’ll need to refine your strategies with conversion optimization.
4. Subscriptions. If your site offers content on a regular basis, or if you plan on sending your customers regular new offers via email, you should have an option for all your visitors to subscribe to your email list. The number of subscribers you receive will depend on the quality of your content, how effectively you target your audience, and of course, how visible and easy it is to subscribe.
5. Time spent on page. The time a customer spends on a page can tell you how effective that page is. For example, if two equal-length blog posts bear an average visit time of 15 seconds and 2 minutes, respectively, it’s clear that the 2-minute post is more engaging. You can use this information to offer better content to your users, and correct some of the pages of your site that fail to capture user interest.
6. Inbound links. Inbound links to your website are a major factor in Google’s ranking algorithm for organic search results. Generally speaking, the more links you have pointing to your website, and the higher the quality those links are, the better your website will rank in organic search results. Of course, getting inbound links to your website is one of the most difficult elements of a search engine optimization campaign, so if you need help, seek professional link building services and focus your own time on handling other aspects of your website.
7. Average visitor value. Finally, you should calculate your average visitor value; when in combination with your traffic figures, this should paint a clear picture of how your site is performing. To calculate this, you’ll need to determine the average amount of money a visitor spends on your site (or how much ad revenue you make per visitor), drawing from metrics such as average cart value, conversion rate, or ongoing ad revenue.
Every Website Is Different
The preceding metrics are “general" KPIs to consider for your site, but every website is different, and your goals may vary. For example, if you’re running a full e-commerce store, your main focus should be selling as many products as possible, but if you’re more interested in selling advertising, it’s better to earn recurring traffic. Consider your brand’s specific goals carefully when selecting which KPIs to measure and prioritize.