10 website metrics to track your website performance- Part 1
When you have a website, and you are a curious website owner hoping to touch the sky of success with your site, you want to stay updated with various things-
- How fast your website loads?
- Is it generating the leads for the business?
- How is the traffic generation?
- On which keywords you rank well?
- Which are the keywords that you should focus further?
- How did the last sales campaign go?
- Are people bouncing a lot from the site? and much more.
The questions are unlimited, but a harsh fact also reveals that hardly few website owners bother to even ask these questions to themselves. The only thing most care is the sales rate. How are the sales going, that’s it?
You have to understand that sales are the ultimate goal but they are not acquired like a piece of cake. To make good sales, your website needs to succeed on various aspects and those aspects depend on several metrics. It’s important to understand what metrics should you track each day, each week, and each month, so as to understand the status of SEO, traffic, leads, conversion and sales on your web-store.
10 website metrics to track on your website
Here, I have enlisted 10 crucial website metrics that you should regularly check to improve your website and sales performance.
1. Website Traffic
At the very basic level, you should have a knowledge of how many people are visiting your site each day. The knowledge of this important metric will help you discover the facts behind other related metrics too.
Google Analytics is the best tool you have got (that too for free) to unveil the traffic status of your site. It analyzes the website traffic using two different angles- Sessions and Users. The session shows the total number of visitors on the site while users are the number of unique visitors.
Having strong numbers for the Session metric is a good indication that your website has some pretty good share of loyal repeat visitors. It also indicates the success of your promotional activities like email campaigns.
However, you should also not ignore the ‘Users’ metric, as a decrease in a number of unique visitors indicates that you are unable to acquire new visitors on your site. You need to acquire new traffic, or your website will gradually have no visitors at all. So, both the metrics are important when it comes to having a good share of website traffic and maintaining it.
2. Traffic Sources
Now that you have a knowledge of how much traffic you are able to pull on your website, you should move a little deeper and understand the sources of your website traffic. If you do not understand the source of your traffic, you will have no idea of customer targeting. You might just feel like “My website is receiving a soaring traffic yet my sales are zero ”.
You have to understand that not all the visitors who come to your store does not have a definite buying intention. Your website traffic may include the people with no buying intent:-
- People who found your link on a forum or Facebook and just checking out what your site is about.
- People who are just window shopping and comparing the prices on different sites they find.
- People with whom you have talked about the site, now they are just checking out casually.
Google Analytics analyzes the traffic sources by breaking them into four categories:
- Organic Search: Traffic coming from search engines
- Referral: Traffic coming from another website
- Direct: Users who type your website URL into the browser
- Social: Traffic coming from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter etc.
With each traffic source, there is a deep information attached that tells how can you utilize different sources to acquire relevant traffic. Depending on the stats, you can prepare strategies for acquiring traffic. For example, if the organic search does not shows a good number, it means you need to work on your mistakes in website SEO. Since organic traffic comes from the search results only, you need to keep your website SEO up to the mark to keep receiving organic traffic.
Another example could be for the referrals. Referral traffic comes from different sources but the most important are the back-links, affiliate links, and Ad campaigns. Say, if your referral traffic is not up to the mark, you need to work on your link building strategies and try to get more links (from high authority sites only). Also, you may need to work on your AdWords; design landing pages, check the links associated, check the target keywords etc.
Direct traffic is mostly from the repeat customers who know where to find you. These are loyal customers or visitors who consider checking out your site before finalizing a buying decision in a hope to find the better option with you. It may also include the fan customers who trust your site and always buy from you only. Losing such customers is bad, very bad for your business. So keep tracking to retain them.
You can’t ignore the social traffic if you’re living in 2017. Social media marketing has become an integral part of customer acquisition strategies in any business plan. Whether you run an eCommerce site or a blogging site you always need the social media to refer users on your site. If you are running a Facebook Ad campaign and the social traffic status shows lower numbers, it means your campaign is not performing well. You need to work on your Ad campaign.
3. Bounce Rate-
A visitor is said to be “bounced back” when he/she visits the site and immediately goes back or close the browser tab. This usually means that either your site was not relevant for them or users didn’t find what they were looking for.
You can compare the situation with brick-and-mortar model when someone walks in your store, take a look around and then leave immediately.
Often times visitors land on a wrong side by mistake or through an ambiguous referral, so they will obviously close the window. In the real situation, you can never get your bounce back rate to zero. However, having a high bounce back is not a good sign at all. It means that either your website is not competent with its offers, prices, and value proposition or you are massively getting referrals from the irrelevant sources with no buying intent.
On Google Analytics you can track the bounce rates under the Behavior>All Pages section. Select the filters to see the report from the specific period, Acquisition, and Channels only.
Combine the traffic referral report and bounce back report, and you would be able to see what’s wrong with your traffic sources. If sources are not the problem, you will need to optimize one more metric that I am going to explain next- Conversion rate.
But before that, don’t forget to check the cart abandonment rates. A shopping cart abandonment can be considered as a special kind of bounce back that occurs from the checkout page. So, if you are receiving high bounce backs from the checkout page, you are facing the curse of shopping cart abandonment. In this situation:
4. Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is perhaps the most important metric out of all your performance metrics. You are are not running your site without a reason. You want people to come and take the specific actions on the site that you have designed to acquire the conversions. Actions like purchasing a product, subscribing to the newsletter, downloading an e-book, and much more.
Conversion rate is the data that shows the percentage of visitors who took the specific action that you want from them on your site. If your site has a low conversion rate, then either you are receiving the traffic from wrong sources or you have not optimized your website UX and policies to convince the visitors also called as mistakes in conversion optimization.
By monitoring the conversion rate you can easily know if something is broken on your site. For example, a steep sudden decline in your eCommerce conversion rate may indicate a breakdown in your checkout conversion funnel.
In Google Analytics you can set up the events to track conversion rates of specific actions in Behavior>Events>Top Events section.
Conversion rate has a direct impact on your profits and revenue generation. You cannot afford to ignore the metric when your rival sites are contentiously optimizing their websites. Even the minor tweaks can substantially impact the conversion rates. So, keep your eyes open and leverage A/B testing to make the perfect decisions for the tweaks.
5. Exit pages
We often confuse Exit rates with the bounce rates, but in real they are far too different from each other. An exit rate is a data that tells about the last page a visitor on your site is before exiting out of the site. High exit rate doesn’t necessarily mean a bounce back, as the user might have spent quite a time before finally exiting the site.
By Analyzing the exit rate or exit pages, you can discover the pages from where customers are exiting the website. That means if a particular page is showing a high exit rate, there is something wrong with the page. You need to work it out and make sure it has the strong elements to keep the visitors engaged for a little longer.
You can check the Exit rates on Google Analytics in Behavior>Site Content>Exit Pages section. Here you will find the pages that have high exit rates.
Don’t miss to read the Part-2 of the post. I have enlisted 5 more website metrics that are quite different from what you have read here. They are more of the real context metrics and very important from SEO as well as CRO point of view in 2017.