8 Things You Need to Measure on Your Website
Once your website is live you need to make sure it’s achieving the objectives you set in the planning stage. If it isn’t performing then you can see where it falls short and use the data you have available to make improvements.
We’ll go through the essential elements you need to track on your website, most of these require monitoring software installed on your website such as Google Analytics. How often you should review your website depends on your online marketing activity and volume of traffic, but monthly is a good start.
We always recommend that you set measurable goals for your website such as sales, enquiries or brochure downloads.
Goals are easy to set up in Google Analytics and can show at a glance which sources were best at generating conversions.
E.g. Google searches could be resulting in the most brochure downloads, while Facebook ads are best at getting people to sign up for email newsletters. This data enables you to see which online marketing channels are working best for you.
Always a popular statistic with web managers but make sure you pay attention to both returning visits and new visits. If one of your website goals is to generate fresh custom then new visits is the one to track.
Google Analytics also tracks basic geographical location data so that you can get an idea what countries and cities your visitors are coming from. There are more advanced features too that show an illustration of your visitor demographic.
You need to know where your website traffic is coming from to measure the performance of your online marketing.
Whether you’re driving traffic with SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing or any other channels, Google Analytics can show you where your visitors are coming from. By adding Campaigns and Goals into the mix you can get an even better idea of your most successful tactics.
Mobile traffic to websites is growing substantially and we recommend keeping an eye on your tablet and mobile phone usage figures.
If a large proportion of your website visits are from mobiles and these visitors have high bounce rates* and aren’t spending long on pages, your website may be putting mobile users off. In this case you should review your mobile strategy.
You’ll want to know what pages on your website are the most popular. Also check which type of visitor they are popular with, do new visitors look at different pages to returning visitors? Google Analytics will show you bounce rates* and time spent on pages so you can identify which pages may need improving.
A high bounce rate is not necessarily bad, for example “Contact” pages generally have high bounce rates* as people find the information they need and leave straight away. However a high bounce rate for your home page is something that needs to be addressed.
Google Analytics also has a Behaviour Flow feature which displays your visitors’ website journeys. This information is very useful as it shows how visitors use your website and provides very useful insights into what paths people take and if you should be taking steps to help them go where you want them to.
For most websites, visitors from search engines are their main traffic source, so being able to track what keywords people use to find your website is a great performance indicator for measuring search engine optimisation.
There is a useful tool in Analytics under Search Engine Optimisation > Queries which, after linking to your Google Webmaster Tools account, shows which keywords your website gained impressions for and how many clicks you achieved.
Unfortunately Google Analytics now hides the most popular keywords used to find your site but the data that is available, combined with tracking popular content and landing pages, still gives a good idea of what people are looking for.
If you are using Adwords campaigns to drive traffic to your website then you can also track which keywords in your campaigns are getting the best conversions.
You can also identify seasonal trends using Google Trends. For example if your keywords spike at a certain time this helps you plan online marketing campaigns to target more potential customers in that period. For example, the trend for “Greece holidays” in 2013 shows distinct peaks in December and then again in May to July.
A key performance indicator for search engine optimisation is your search engine ranking for your priority keywords. Generally your website needs to be on the first page to generate any sizeable traffic and being in the top five is where you really want to be.
There are several tools that will help you track search engine rankings with Moz being one of our favourites. Apart from rankings, Moz will also track keyword performance, site backlinks, social media performance and brand mentions.
Regular checks to see if everything on your website works as it should are essential, as you may have errors on your website that could be losing you visitors.
We recommend reviewing essential usability issues such as broken links, content quality, loading speed and accessibility. Utilities such as Google Webmasters Tools can be helpful in identifying potential problems with your website.
Don’t forget that monitoring your website regularly is vital, these measures are designed as a guide but you may want to add more depending on the nature of your business or organisation.
* The “Bounce Rate” is an internet marketing term and refers to the percentage of people who visit a page and then leave without visiting any other pages. Google says the average bounce rate is 40%–60%.