There’s a famous saying that, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. If you’re not measuring the data of your company, you won’t know if, how, or how much something in your business is improving or worsening, and you won’t be able to manage it.
It’s true that some of the most important things, like for example a smile on a satisfied customer’s face isn’t quantifiable, but nonetheless, the numbers behind the behavior of your visitors after landing on your website could give you some valuable insights into what you can do better.
Here are 7 web metrics every online business owner should track to make sure your site is properly managed and optimized for success!
Track, Analyze, Identify, Optimize
Identifying how people use and behave on your site is a fundamental step toward optimizing your future marketing campaigns and improving the overall performance of your website.
Though it can be challenging to know exactly which metrics are most important to your particular business, and to unravel the story they are telling, it’s still up to you to put it together and combine your data to garner a deeper understanding of your audience wants and needs, and what you can do to serve them better.
Luckily, Google Analytics can help us do just that. Not only is it 100% FREE, but it’s also the top used traffic analysis tools (used by 49.7% of all websites, holding a market share of 81.5%), and integrates perfectly with other Google products like Webmaster, AdWords, and AdSense, helping you grasp your audience better.
In this post, I will outline seven of the most important web metrics that you should monitor closely as they will tell you the most about the successes and failures of your online business.
If you haven’t set up your Google Analytics account just yet, make sure to check out their ‘Get started with Analytics’ help page for step-by-step instructions.
#1. Visitors – How Many People Access Your Website?
The number of people coming to your website is one of the first metrics you’ll want to take a look at. Visitors analytics help you see if your traffic increases over time, and if there’s a repeating growth communicating the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and strategies.
The total visits reflect the full amount of traffic your website is achieving, while the percentage of new, unique visits gives you an idea of how successful you’ve been in expanding your reach and acquiring new customers for your business. You want to build a loyal following for your brand, but you also need to bring in new people to extend and grow your presence.
Still, an unusually high percentage of first-time visitors to your site indicates that your content and offering aren’t sticky enough to warrant a repeat traffic. –
If this is the case, you’ll want to address this trend by optimizing and highlighting your most valuable content to encourage people to come back.
Email marketing is also a great and cost-efficient way to increase your returning customers rate.
When it comes to the visitor metric, it’s important to watch out for major dips and peaks, and to increase the numbers, you should focus on the right keywords to target, on producing quality content, improving your SEO, getting active on social media, and promoting your content.
#2. Traffic Sources – How People Find You Online?
Traffic sources refer to the places that send visitors to your website. It’s important to track this data as it helps you determine the best platforms to reach out to your target market share, as well as the effectiveness of your SEO and marketing efforts.
Organic Search – If you’ve been working on boosting your SEO, you should notice increase in your organic search volume, – that is the clicks from unpaid search engines’ listings.
Direct traffic – Includes the visitors who access your website directly by typing your URL or bookmark.
Referral traffic – is the traffic linked to from other blogs and websites.
Campaigns – include the visits that are tracked through pre-defined PPC campaigns.
Having a well-balanced mix of all traffic segments is good for a stable, long term business growth.
If you mostly depend on organic search coming from Google, and they make an algorithm update that affects you, you’re in a risk of losing money very quickly. By knowing your traffic sources, you can clearly map out your future marketing tactics and strategies.
#3. Landing Pages – Which are the Pages that Drive Traffic to Your Website?
Landing pages are the pages your readers first visit when they come to your website. Usually the homepage receives the highest level of incoming traffic, but your top traffic generators can also include popular content pieces that other people and websites repeatedly link to, or the pages you use to drive promotions and campaigns.
You should take a closer look at your top landing pages and see if they can be optimized better to include calls to action that will pull visitors deeper into the website, and convert leads into followers and customers of your business. By analyzing this metric you can also understand whether the information you deliver matches the needs of the traffic you receive, and on this base build your content around the interests of your audience.
The bounce rate is another key measure that should be considered in close relation to the landing pages data. If your top traffic drivers are bouncing a high percentage of visitors, they’re literally pushing people away from your website. Read what you can do to reduce the bounce rates of these valuable pages.
#4. Conversion Rate – How Well Visitors Respond to Your Calls to Action?
This metric counts the percentage of people who’ve completed a desired action on your website, like clicking on an article, checking an ad, subscribing to your newsletter, scheduling an appointment, or buying a product.
You can calculate it by simply dividing the number of people who undertake a specific action on your site by the total number of visitors.
The conversion rate is also very important to compare between your website’s landing pages, as these are the pages your visitors see first, and if they aren’t converting well, then the traffic you get isn’t really valuable for your marketing efforts. You need to continuously monitor, study and tweak your pages and calls to action, be clear about what you want your visitors to do next, and help them move down the conversion belt.
#5. Time on Site – How Much Time People Spend on Your Website?
Knowing the average time that people spend on your website helps you understand whether they’re actually reading and engaging with your content; do they convert quickly, or leave the page soon after landing.
In most cases you want people to stay longer on your pages, – particularly on a company blog, – as it means they enjoy your content. Still, shorter times are preferable for websites that provide short and fast services, where readers come, get the information they need and leave quickly, like for example in online banking.
Slow loading speed is a quite common reason for people leaving a page fast, but depending on the page type, the explanations can vary. Maybe the opening paragraph of a post is weak and doesn’t excite people to want to find out more, or the ad that drove them to your landing page was misleading, or maybe your page doesn’t clearly describe the products and services your business offers.
Make sure to focus on the benefits for your target customers, as they’ll always want to know what’s in there for them, and how the things that you offer actually help them.
#6. Popular Content – What People Do While on Your Site?
Quality content is key for attracting new visitors and keeping the established ones. Google Analytics makes it very easy to analyze the type of content that works best with your audience. Check which pages get the highest number of views, how long people stay engaged on those pages, and what are their bounce rates.
If your visitors don’t bounce off, but read and click through, it means your most popular content is not only interesting, but also encourages them to explore other pages within your site. Keep this in mind when building your content strategy.
#7. Exit Pages and Exit Rates – Which are the Last Pages People Visit Before Leaving Your Website?
Exit page is the last page a visitor views before completely leaving your website, and this can be after clicking through several pages, or just reading that one. The exit rate measures the percentage of visitors who exit your website through a particular page after visiting multiple pages (Unlike bounce rate).
Looking at this metric you’ll be able to identify whether your visitors actually find the information they need. If your landing page data closely matches your exit pages, it may indicate that your visitors aren’t satisfied with the content you’ve provided, so they leave having with no intent of return.
Over to You
There are a large number of other metrics in Google Analytics that are also important to be analyzed, but the focus should vary, depending on the type of website you run and your monetization strategy.
Decide which metrics are most important to you and build your goals around them.
Also remember to put all numbers into their context and analyze the data accordingly to get accurate results, as they never work independently of one another. These metrics are your friends. They give you information on what matters most, and that is the performance of your website. They will help point you to your business’ greatest success.
Do you have experience in tracking your web metrics? How do you use analytics to track your progress? What metrics do you find valuable? Please share your tips in the comments below.