In our line of work it’s pretty easy to assume one of the main reasons you decided launch your business website and create an online presence was to increase your sales and make more money.
As you market your business online and work hard to get the word out to your potential customers, how do you know if your strategies are working and how do you make educated changes if you need to adjust your direction?
In order to get the most success possible out of your business website you must examine the metrics and numbers behind-the-scenes frequently. Metrics to most just sounds like a “fancy” word for stats but its really much more than that. Stats are numbers, metrics are measurements of those numbers. It’s important to know the statistics that show you who is visiting your website, for how long and how many people are making purchases or getting involved with your site but its also vital that you can measure those numbers and use that to make adjustments for your business.
Many businesses utilize website metrics tools like Google Analytics to get this information as well as numerous other options. Whatever you decide to use to get your information, you’ll need to know these 5 website metrics for success.
#1 Unique Visitors
The first metric you must know is how many unique visitors you are getting every week, every month, etc. A unique visitor is an individual person who visited your site regardless of how many pages they viewed. For example, if Fred visits your site once and Lilly visits your site three times, you’ll have two unique visitors and four visits.
The unique visitors metric is important because it represents the size of the audience you’re reaching. If you’re expanding marketing efforts you should expect to see an increase in unique visitors even if you do offline marketing as most new customers will visit your website to learn more about your business, products, or services. As you start to measure your site’s unique visitors, you can start to focus on repeat visitors. This means they keep coming back to read or shop. You can then begin to ask why these people are coming back. What pages are they looking at most? How can you use that information to create more opportunities for more sales or to further increase engagement?
#2 Referral Traffic
When someone visits your website from an external source like another website, this is called referral traffic. This metric also indicates that individuals are finding your website through backlinks or links from other sources online. Referral traffic can come from someone sharing your link naturally in a forum, a product review, social media post, or your latest podcast interview that includes a link to your website in the summary.
Referral traffic is critical to understanding how much your website is getting spread and shared across the web. If people are sharing it with others or referencing your latest article in their blog, you’ll get higher page rankings with Google and gain more authority in your field. Keep track of your referral traffic and build relationships with other people in your industry. Try to collaborate with them and promote each other’s websites by giving backlinks. Also, make sure the referral links to your website are in fact high quality. If you are spamming comment sections of hundreds of blogs with links back to your site, or if content unrelated to your own is linking back to your site it could do far more damage than good for your search engine rankings. Always remember, quantity is not better than quality.
#3 Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that left your website after viewing just one page. This metric helps show you if your content is interesting to your readers. But it can also point to a torrent of other website problems that can lead to visitors leaving quickly.
If your bounce rate is high, this can show you two things analytics expert Avinash Kaushik says:
- You are targeting the wrong keywords or promising things you aren’t delivering.
- Your landing page links are broken, the wrong page loads, or content is missing.
While that is absolutely correct, there are numerous other reasons why people could be bouncing such as:
- Slow loading pages or sections of the page
- Mixed message or confusing page layouts
- Poor or dated looking design which can lead to concerns about the fidelity of your website
- Security concerns or warnings
- The links that sent the visitors to your page were misleading (for example, the link said “free” but everything on your site has a price”)
If you are wondering about the quality of your webpage and how users are interacting with it. We suggest checking out this free tool, Peek, by User Testing. Up to three times a month you can submit your website link and have actual users record their experience of browsing through your site through a 5 minute video. The knowledge gained through actual users on your website is huge! For example, we’ve taken the feedback received through this tool and now are using it to launch a newly remodeled website as well as a brand new logo for Vinci Digital. Without unbiased feedback you often may never know how users are experiencing your site. You can only make assumptions and in the business world, assumptions can cost you time and money that leads to no results.
#4 Total Conversions
One of the most important metrics for any marketing effort is total conversions or measuring the overall profitability or success. There may be many different things that you could consider a conversion for viewers of your website. You might want people to provide their email address, fill out an online lead form, or completing a checkout transaction for an e-commerce site. Conversions are quantifiable and easily measured actions taken by your viewers.
You can measure conversions directly by taking the total number of conversions and dividing it by your total unique visitors. This will yield a percentage. Google Analytics also provides tracking for your progress. Once you know how many conversions you are actually getting, you can try new strategies to increase this very important metric. Google also provides you with the ability to set up Goals which takes conversion tracking one step further.
#5 User Demographics
When you created your original marketing plan you defined who your ideal customer was, right? Well, at least you should have!
It’s often ironic however that doing business online, who you thought was your target demographic may in fact be very different than who actually consumes your product since anyone from around the world can easily access it. Keeping an eye on viewer demographics allows you to update your marketing plan accordingly.
Although not all demographic information is available online (like height, weight, race, etc) unless you ask your users this information when they register, you can get a limited amount of vital information like country, state/city, and age from your analytic tools. Look at this information and ask yourself some questions. Is it in line with your marketing plan? If not, is your audience different than expected? Are you sending the right message to the right people? Knowing who is coming to your site, can help you create more content and adjust your marketing efforts to get even better results than you’ve been seeing.