Measuring Success Through Web Metrics

What gets measured improves. Well, what gets measured can be analyzed and then it can be improved upon. Web metrics involves identifying and analyzing key criteria to see how well your website is doing. From there, you can consider what you should do to improve results.

Web Metrics Basics

You’ve built your website. Now what? Use Google Analytics (it’s free) to track how many people are visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages they’re viewing and whether their visits are leading to sales. Regularly review and analyze the data.
Key Web metrics include:
  • Unique visitors. Each person who visits your site is only counted once as a “unique visitor” no matter how many repeat visits that individual makes.
  • Bounce rates. This counts every time someone leaves without clicking on a second page. It could indicate that they went to your site by mistake or that they weren’t lured in further.
  • Exit pages. This is different than a bounce. This tracks the last page that a visitor saw. It could be part of a logical sequence, such as an order receipt page where someone would end up after making a purchase. But if another page has a surprisingly high number of exits, it might be good to consider why.
  • Conversion rate. This measures how successful the website is at achieving whatever your goal is, such as making a purchase, signing up for your e-newsletter, or leaving a comment on your blog.

How to Get the Most Out of Web Metrics

Not all Web metrics have the same relevance or value. The most useful ones are tied to business results, such as increasing sales volume or revenue, reducing costs or improving profitability. They are also actionable, or involve things you can act on. The key attributes include timeliness, precision, segmented, showing trends over time, and providing meaning.
Some examples include:
  • Conversion rate: One of the key metrics for any site. What percentage of visitors make a purchase or take the action you desire?
  • Demographics: Who are your customers? Where are they coming from? Are there ways to better reach or please this target audience?
  • Most-viewed pages: For an eCommerce site, this might indicate the most popular products, and it might flag the need to promote or remove less popular products.
  • Abandoned shopping carts: If an eCommerce site sees a high number of visitors not following through on an intended purchase, it could be a red flag that a problem exists somewhere in the process.

Keep Marketing and Business Metrics in Mind

It’s always helpful to tie business measurements to financial returns. Your marketing efforts should be measurable to begin with. And the activities to focus on are the ones that will lead to measurable improvements in your financial metrics. These include revenue per customer, the cost of acquiring a new customer, and your rate of converting leads to sales (lead conversion rate).
Metrics to ignore or play down are the ones that make you feel good but don’t advance your business goals. These include Facebook “likes,” metrics that focus on activity rather than results, and things that track efficiency, but not effectiveness. Doing things well is good, but doing the right things well is even better!

Game Plan

Stay focused on measuring results for your website, and try to identify the key results that really matter.
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