Measuring your website’s success starts with these key metrics
Nowadays everyone has a website. From brands to bloggers, everybody who wants to be somebody has or is working on a website. But building a site is not that difficult, anyone can create one for free and call it a day. The question is what do you do to make it a success?
Part of a successful website is knowing what is working and what needs to be improved. As the famous management consultant Peter Druker once said: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Measuring website performance can be an overwhelming task, after all there are hundreds of metrics you could track. To help you get started I’ve listed five key metrics to look at:
1. Traffic sources
Knowing where your website traffic is coming from is key. This information is easily accessible in tools like Google Analytics. Google Analytics breaks your traffic down into five extensive categories:
- Paid search: traffic coming in from your paid search campaigns
- Organic search: traffic coming in through search engines
- Direct: traffic that lands directly on your site by typing your domain into their browser
- Social: traffic that comes from your social media channels
- Referral: traffic that comes from other websites that direct to yours
Your traffic sources are a great place to start and see if your marketing efforts are paying off. For example, if you are running social media promotions, you should see an increase in traffic that’s coming from social. If, on the other hand, you’re placing a lot of effort on search engine optimization (SEO), you can expect an increase in organic search traffic.
2. Bounce rate
Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who exit your website immediately after landing on it. A high bounce rate indicates a poorly performing web page and tells you that visitors are leaving quickly. Good web page design, quality content and fast loading speed can all decrease in bounce rate.
3. Conversion rate
Your conversion rate is probably on top of your list as it’s one of the most important metrics. The conversion rate of a page is the percentage of visitors that completed a desired action on that particular page, for example filling out a contact form or making a purchase.
A high conversion rate indicates that that page is doing well. A low conversion rate, on the other hand, suggests that the traffic you’re attracting is not converting. Engaging content, a clear call-to-action and nice design can all help with increasing page conversions.
4. New versus returning visitors
New visitors have never been to your site before, whereas returning visitors have visited your site more than once, according to Google tracking. It’s advisable to distinguish between new and returning visitors as they can tell you more about the effectiveness of your site and marketing activities.
A successful website needs a mix of both and it’s important to know how your numbers add up. For instance, if a big chunk of your visitors are returning visitors, that’s great. But this is also an opportunity to improve your discoverability through SEO or advertising for example, which will help with attracting new visitors.
5. SEO ranking
Your SEO ranking determines how visible your website is on search engines like Google. Good SEO practices improve the site’s visibility, trustworthiness and increase website traffic. According to research, organic search generates more than 53% of site traffic and trumps all other channels.
While tracking your website’s performance metrics may seem daunting and complicated at first, it’s key for achieving your goals and growing your brand. Start with the most important metrics first and build from there. After all, if you know what is working well and what isn't, you can optimize accordingly rather than relying on assumptions or a gut feeling.