Key Metrics for Analyzing Websites

Almost every business has a website, but not all marketers know how to implement improvements to generate more sales, collect more leads, or meet other business objectives. What you measure should depend on the goals you’ve set for your website. Here are some common metrics used to analyze website performance:
  • Page views. This is a measurement of your overall traffic, or how many “clicks” your site receives.
  • Unique visitors. Although one user may visit a variety of your pages or return to your site at a later time, it's the number of unique visitors that gives you a better perspective on how many individual visitors are interacting with your site.
  • Engagement. How long do visitors stay on your website? How many pages do they visit? These statistics provide important information on whether your site keeps visitors interested in your content.
  • Bounce rate. This metric can be viewed as the “opposite” of engagement. Some visitors arrive at your website and “bounce,” leaving your site within just a few seconds. Obviously you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible. Higher bounce rates could mean that your homepage or landing pages take too long to load or fail to attract attention.
  • Top pages and exit pages. The top pages on your site are those visited most frequently – often your home page. They can also be possibly a landing page that you’re promoting. Exit pages are those that users visit most often right before leaving your site.
  • Referrals. Web technologies can track the links users click elsewhere on the Web to arrive at your site. They can also track whether users typed in your URL. Often external clicks come from search engines, but they may also reflect traffic from other websites that link to yours.
  • Keywords. Your web analytics tool can tell you which keywords tend to generate the most search engine traffic to your site. Keeping track of these keywords can help you develop web advertisements and optimize your site to receive more traffic from search engines.
  • Browsers. Each web click contains information about which browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) a visitor is using. Although most browsers function similarly, you can use this information to determine whether traffic is arriving at your site via smartphone or tablet. If you have heavy traffic from these devices, you may want to create a separate site that’s optimized for mobile viewing.
  • Conversion and cost per action. As you attract visitors to your site, you certainly want them to take action to convert to a lead or a sale. And if you’re running paid advertising for your site, you’ll want to measure how much a conversion or sale costs you by dividing the amount you’re spending by the number of actions completed.
There are free tools, such as Google Analytics, which provide much of this information, but paid tools can provide more sophisticated metrics. Reviewing the statistics most important to your goals gives you valuable information for improving your website and your overall ROI.

Game Plan

  • For metrics that matter most to small businesses, read this post from the National Federation of Independent Business.
  • Remember that it is possible to make mistakes with google analytics.
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