Never underestimate the importance of tracking and optimizing for website metrics in 2018. Webmasters and marketers that keep critical web metrics in mind, optimizing in relation to metric insights, will likely earn the most relevant traffic share over time, retain more users, and close on the most inbound marketing leads. With the use of a free Google Analytics account and a quick paste of tracking code to your site, you’ll be ready to start utilizing the following website metrics to your advantage. Here are 8 key metrics to track to improve your website’s marketing performance.
8 Key Website Metrics to Analyze for Improving Website Performance
Visitor traffic numbers are a good indication of growth, stagnation, or decline of a website’s level of exposure online. Focusing on visitors, particularly unique visitors, is a vital metric to keep in mind as you progress your website content and marketing efforts. The visitor traffic metric provides a high-level overview of the overall traffic performance of your site. Next, you can start digging into individual traffic sources to pinpoint traffic source strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to traffic sources, it’s important to note the different source categories. Quality of visitors and conversion rates may differ depending on the traffic source. These traffic sources include direct visitors, organic search visitors, referral visitors, and social visitors. Direct visitors are visitors who have visited your site by typing your website’s URL directly into the browser address bar. Direct traffic is also regarded as any traffic where the referrer or source is unknown. Organic search visitors are those who have visited your website by discovering your site through search engine queries or keyword results. Referral visitors are people who discovered and clicked through your website from a mention or link on another website’s page. Social visitors are those who have discovered your site through social media content such as profile mentions, posts, and links. Which traffic source performs best? This will depend on your website’s content, optimization, SEO, social sharing efforts, industry, products/services, and other factors.
Website bounce rate is a key website metric to examine. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (or web sessions). It is the number of visits in which a person leaves your website from the initial page landed on, without browsing any further. You’ll want to take a look at individual page bounce rates to observe page performance and see where you can improve the content experience, which will reinforce improving the total bounce rate of your website. It is theorized that Google takes bounce rate and other user experience factors into account when ranking website content, in order to help judge the quality of the website experience for visitors. Bounce rate can give you an idea of how helpful a piece of content is in successfully guiding your visitors to another page on your website, such as through a well-aligned inbound sales funnel. By reducing bounce rate of your website pages, you will increase your chances of generating higher quality website interactions and user conversions.
Often confused with bounce rate, the exit rate is a bit different but important to understand. While bounce rate is when a visitor to your site leaves from their initially landed on page and is based only on sessions that start and end within a specific page, exit rate is when a user visits multiple pages and decides to exit the website. In other words, for all pageviews to a page, exit rate is the percentage of pageviews that were the last in a visitor’s session. Exit rate, along with examining your most exited pages, will support your efforts in improving those pages in terms of content and how they can better align with your website funnels and lead conversion goals.
When analyzing any website for marketing performance, you’ll want to review the site’s top pages by pageviews. For example, this data can help you prioritize which pages to improve in terms of content and usability, or where you may want to update your internal page linking strategy. Doing so may improve other web metrics for the said page such as lower its bounce rate.
While conversion rate is a rather broad metric that can be applied to any of your website page visits, interactions and events, it is probably one of the most important website metrics to consider. Honing your conversion rates generally leads to more potential leads and higher profits. Conversion rates help you determine how well you are encouraging your website visitors to perform specific actions, such as visiting an important landing page, submitting a form or clicking button. Conversion rate metric examples include form clicks divided by total page visits, or product transactions divided total visitors for an e-commerce site.
Conversion by Traffic Source
This website metric supplements traffic source and conversion rate analysis. Conversion rate by traffic source will help you examine where your content and messaging is most effective, where users are taking a desirable action. You might want to invest more energy into your high converting traffic sources, while re-considering marketing strategy for your low conversion rate traffic sources.
Customer Lifetime Value
While a more complex metric to calculate, the customer lifetime value or “lifetime value” metric can help you forecast potential customer revenue and refine your budgeting strategy. The customer lifetime value metric is a prediction of the net profit attributed to your entire future relationship with a customer. This helps you understand how valuable users are to your business based on lifetime performance. You can also take this website metric farther by comparing the lifetime value of customers acquired through organic search vs. paid search or an email channel, for example.
Web Metrics Matter
With powerful and increasingly intuitive website analytics platforms like Google Analytics available for free, there’s no reason not to track these 8 key website metrics listed above. Just remember that no one metric tells a story. Metric insights and trends should be utilized in combination to report on performance and website strategy. Prioritizing them may help you organize your thoughts. Once you achieve a comfortable workflow and understanding of the site metrics to analyze, you’ll improve your chances of making more effective content decisions and potential customer experiences.