Analyzing your website’s performance can be overwhelming in the beginning. However, not tracking and measuring your audience’s online behavior means you are flying blind. You aren’t able to determine what is working (and what isn’t), where to invest your time or money, and where there are opportunities for optimization.
When analyzing your website, we recommend you start with something that’s simple and free. It’s also good practice to remember these key points before you dig into any metrics:
- Know the objectives of your website.
- Just because something can be counted, doesn’t mean it should.
- Focus on one metric (visits or visitors) to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.
- Be ready to respond!
Now that you are ready to get started, here are some recommendations on key metrics to help you better understand how your site is performing:
Your website's conversion rate (CR) is the ratio of visitors who successfully complete an action that achieves your site’s objective. This action can be anything from downloading a report, completing a Web form, or making a purchase.
A good conversion rate tends to hover around one to three percent. So, if your conversion rate is lower than one percent, you should reevaluate your pages as there is room for improvement.
Keywords are specific words and phrases that bring users to your website through search. Identifying these words and phrases is critical and should be monitored regularly. Why?
According to Keyword Discovery, over 80 percent of all online transactions begin as a keyword search on a search engine.
Knowing what your target audience is searching for is essential to your site’s optimization, and will also help uncover any missing gaps in content that users may be looking for that’s not available on your site.
The Top Visited Pages are a compiled list of the most viewed Web page on your site, in descending order.
Knowing your top visited pages will provide you with a starting point of where you should focus your optimization efforts.
Pages Per Visit (PPV) measures how many Web pages a particular user (or group of users) views on your site in one visit.
This metric is an excellent indicator in determining the quality of your site’s content and how easily a visitor can navigate.
How to calculate PPV:
The Entry Page is the first impression a visitor sees when landing on your site.
Most people assume that the only entry page is your homepage, but this is not true. Viewers can initially land on any of your site’s pages and in a number of ways - from a search engine or banner ad, to a link from another website or typing directly into the browser.
Identifying which of your pages are likely entry pages can help you optimize your content based on your intended audience.
The Exit Page is the last page your visitor was on before leaving your site.
When you initially designed your site, you should have identified one or more paths you wanted your visitor to follow. Actually knowing the top exit pages will help you determine if visitors are reaching the pages you intended, for example a confirmation page.
Any pages that are not directing visitors to complete your intended path should be further examined.
This information will provide you with an overview of the type of traffic that is being driven to your site. Visitors generally fall under these categories:
- Direct Traffic: Visitors who directly type in the URL of your website or from a bookmark.
- Referring URLs: Other websites sending traffic to you. These could also be a result of your banner ads, campaigns, blogs or affiliates who link to you.
- Search Engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. This will include organic and paid traffic.
- Other: This includes additional marketing campaigns you may run, like email and direct marketing.
Carefully analyzing how these different groups convert will help you make sound decisions on where to spend your next marketing dollar.
Reviewing the percentage of new versus returning visitors helps establish if you are retaining customers.
It also helps you gain an understanding of how many times a customer interacts with your business before purchasing.
Though, it is important to take into consideration the goals of your site. If you have an e-commerce site, you want people to come back and purchase again. But if you own a restaurant, the goal of your site may only be to have a customer find your menu and hours of operation.