Today, website performance is aligned to the health of your business, and if you’re not tracking and refining your onsite efforts, you’re hurting both. Where to start? In the past, we’ve written about the top seven metrics that matter in website performance, and now, we’re digging in again to see what’s changed.
As always, it’s important to clearly understand and document your business goals as they relate to your website. After goal-setting, determine how you’ll measure website performance through the establishment of KPIs and benchmarks. Which website metrics are the most relevant for your site and matter the most for your business and goals? What benchmarks can you set within each metric and aim to achieve?
Below, we took a second look at the most important metrics to measure site performance by, again detailing engagement, retention, loyalty and most importantly, what’s referred to as conversions. Conversions are predetermined actions deemed desirable to your company based on your site’s capabilities. The most classic example of a conversion is completing a purchase if your site allows for e-commerce activity, but other actions, such as downloading a whitepaper or submitting a form, can also be classified as conversions.
After you’ve clearly defined what a conversion consists of on each page or on your site overall, it’s time to start measuring how well your site is doing through these nine indicative web metrics.
Traffic Sources. It’s still just as important to have a diverse number of sources for incoming traffic. That way you will know which channels are most effective at drawing your audience, creating conversions and which ones you should concentrate on improving. While there is no specific number of page visits or proportion of site traffic to gauge success by, a good indicator is to benchmark against competitor sites and monitor increases month-over-month and year-over-year for growth progression.
In the past, we outlined three primary sources of traffic: direct, organic search and referral. Today, depending on your marketing efforts, your primary sources could be coming from a number of places, including:
- Direct traffic – the visits that come from a user typing your url directly into their browser’s address bar.
- Organic search traffic – the visits that come as a result of a search query a user has made through search engines such as Google or Yahoo!. Organic search can be categorized as unpaid or paid (campaign traffic) if the visitor clicked on an ad that resulted from the query search.
- Social traffic – the visits that have come from a social network like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.
- Email traffic – visits that originated from an email or a link tagged with an email parameter.
- Referral traffic – the visits that come because your site was mentioned and hyperlinked on another site or blog. With referral traffic, it’s important to take a look at which websites are sending the most traffic to your site, and determine if those visitors are your ideal audience. Then, understand which sites you’d like to receive traffic and targeted visitors from, and consider developing a backlink strategy to garner or detract visitors from those sites. Backlinks from a variety of reputable websites play a large role in your domain authority, or how highly you’ll rank and appear in organic searches, and are important to consider in combination with overall referral data.
All of these traffic sources are important but they might be associated with varying levels of consumption and conversion dependent on how far along the buyer’s journey the visitor is. This allows you to make adjustments based on the source proven to be most effective for you.
Once you’ve weighed and selected which web metrics matter most, it’s time to begin tracking so you can refine both individual pages on your site and your overall conversion strategy — as well as begin mapping. You must map out the actions and direction you intend visitors to take when they reach your site, to ensure an impression becomes a conversion fluidly.
Also remember that no one website metric stands alone, and each can only be fully understood within the context of others and the goals of the site.
Need help refining your site measurement strategy and boosting website performance? Contact us.