If you ask the question “How is your website doing?” the average business owner will respond with “fine”. But what exactly does ‘fine’ mean? They built their own website and everybody seems to be impressed (so they say). But how is it actually doing? Translation: How well does your site perform, based on key website metrics, compared to how it could perform? What do visitors believe about your site based on what they actually do?!?
Most businesses don’t know and are flying blind. They rely on tiny bits of feedback, along with their ‘gut’ feeling, and are satisfied with whatever random benefit their site produces. Possibly because they don’t know how to get the answer to these questions. Luckily I’m here to help.
Starting to track key website metrics can be intimidating. Where do you go to setup an account? Is there coding involved? What’s all the lingo mean?
Your visitors will always behave the way they believe benefits them. Tracking is truly the first step in understanding how people REALLY feel about you. And you can literally track EVERYTHING they do. Their actions are compiled and organized neatly into a report that’ll give you insight into how your website is really doing. THEN you can adjust your site to better accommodate your visitors. The most well known tracking tool is Google Analytics (and it’s free).
Once data is organized we refer to as ‘metrics’. This is because you can now measure things with it. Using metrics, you can begin to answer the question “How is your website doing?” with clear, actionable responses.
To be clear, these key website metrics items alone don’t paint the full picture. Each are best valued when compared with a different metric, time frame or other external factor (such as a marketing campaign). But to start your “awareness” journey, here are 5 key website metrics every business should track for better website performance.
- Visitors – Your ‘Visitors’ statistic gives you an indication of the volume of traffic your site receives. It can be a misleading statistic because it doesn’t tell the quality of the visitors. It does show your overall inbound volume, a “feel good” measure. A good statistic to compare this with is ‘Bounce Rate.’
- Bounce Rate – Bounce Rate is the measure of visitors that came to your site and left after viewing only one page. This presumes that they didn’t find what they were looking for and immediately ‘Bounced’. This also can be misleading though, as in the instance of a blog post or landing page where a one page visit is ok. A good statistic to compare this with is ‘Time on Site.’
- Time on Site – Time on Site is the average length of time people spent on your website. Higher times imply happier visitors, lower times imply less happy visitors. If you have a blog, compare ‘Bounce Rate’ to ‘Time on Site’. If ‘Bounce Rate’ is high but ‘Time on Site’ is ALSO high, you might be able to assume people are lingering to read a single blog post. Not such a bad thing. If you don’t have a blog, comparing ‘Time on Site’ with ‘Average Pages Viewed’ will probably give you a better context.
- Average Pages Viewed – Average Pages Viewed will tell you a bit about your visitors’ feelings about your content. The more pages viewed per visit, presumably the more interested they are. A high number here is a great indicator of people’s interest in your offering and should equal more chances at your call to action.
- Traffic Source – Where are your visitors coming from? This metric gives you insight into who your visitors are. Are they from Facebook? Did they find you on google? Did they come from clicking a link? Knowing the source of your traffic can give you great insight into how to speak to them.
- BONUS! Search Terms – When you were found from search, what keywords did people use? Were they keywords you expected or were there surprises? Knowing what people are searching for can be an excellent way to adjust your content as well as provide insight into how to better serve their needs.
It’s very difficult to determine which key website metrics numbers are “good” without better context (2.5 pages per visit viewed. Is that good? Maybe, maybe not.) It’s more important to learn what metrics are good for you. Which brings us to our final metric, time. Reviewing your key website metrics over time will paint you the best picture yet. Are your numbers on the rise? How do they compare to last year? Time gives your numbers depth and enhances your feedback tremendously.
EVERY business should know their website’s basic metrics and be able to interpret them to affect better performance. Hopefully we’ve demystified the process a bit and helped you take a step toward more control. Be sure to get started recording your metrics right now!
Whether you’re tracking your key website metrics or if you have something else in mind let the premier web developer in Maryland help. Let’s talk about how we can put that website of yours to better use!
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