Website metrics! Digital marketers are drowning in them, but which ones matter most?
Altogether, there are probably hundreds of different website metrics you could choose to track – every year, Big Data comes closer to defining and correlating them all.
Until that day, marketers and sales pros needs to know where to focus their attention. Luckily, there are some website metrics that stand head and shoulders over the rest.
Twenty is still a lot of factors to keep track of, but it’s worth it. In fact, many key metrics help you figure out other, even more enlightening ones.
Let’s look at them now.
1. Traffic from All Sources
Everything starts with traffic. In the beginning, it’s the most important thing to monitor – since all other website metrics ultimately come from this one. After the first 30 days, traffic figures should always be improving ... no exceptions!
That said, total traffic will soon take a back seat to other matters. To get all the lessons from it, you have to start segmenting deeper.
2. Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic is one of your greatest long-term assets. Although you’ll invest time and effort in search optimization, it can repay you handsomely with a steady stream of leads.
Helpful, informative Web content will draw organic search traffic for your keywords, but also be alert to “long tail keywords” that result in unexpected visits to your site.
3. Traffic by Social Media Platform
If you are using social media as part of your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll need to track traffic by platform to understand your ROI.
To really optimize your campaign, you should dig deeper to determine what kinds of social posts have the highest click-through rates. In general, imagery, videos, and infographics get the most attention from social viewers.
4. Traffic by Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign
Producing ROI as soon as possible is essential when you delve into paid traffic. It’s especially vexing for smaller enterprises that need to stretch advertising dollars.
Even if your PPC campaign is producing traffic, that’s not the whole story: Monitor bounce rate for those clicks so you know they’re not making your advertising more costly.
5. Traffic by Referring Link
Ideally, links back to your site are so high quality, people are following them to your page on a regular basis. Links from authoritative websites in your niche are the most powerful when it comes to raising your online visibility.
When you notice traffic coming in from good new links, it could point the way to collaboration with a social influencer or industry ally.
6. Traffic by Location and Language
Once traffic starts pouring in, it’s a good idea to pay make sure it fits your business goals. Lots of traffic from different areas of the world could indicate a mismatch in geo-targeting.
Occasionally, automated traffic might arrive from overseas – that can be a sign of a scam in the making. Either way, you’ll want to strain unwanted traffic out of your analytics reports.
7. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate represents visitors who come to your site and leave again right away. For the most part, they don’t even bother to scroll – they take one look at the page they landed on and decide it doesn’t have what they need.
High bounce rates may point to users being driven to the wrong landing pages through search or advertising, or might indicate poor landing pages in general.
8. Average Time on Page
If users are spending an unusually long time on a given page, it often means you’re on your way to developing cornerstone content – Web content that excels at providing value and demonstrating industry leadership.
Consider revising and updating pages or posts that capture user attention. Use internal linking or lead capture methods to improve low-performing pages.
9. Average Session Length
A session represents the total amount of time a user spent on your website in one sitting. Users might spend an entire session on one page or divvy up their time across multiple pages.
The longest sessions can tell you a lot, including what content resonates with your audience and where they get lost. Strive to increase session length by combining compelling long-form content with custom offers.
10. Pages Per Session
This is one of the more misleading website metrics. If you have a B2B-focused corporate site, most users should spend a few minutes on a smaller number of pages.
If you have a lot of top of the funnel (TOFU) content, then you can expect a larger number of pages per session. Trawl individual sessions, if you can, to ensure that users actually moving toward the sale!
11. New Versus Returning Users
When a site is young, much of its traffic will come from new users who never return. As a site matures, the combination of better content and more precise lead capture methods will mean more returning users.
Generally, a site with a higher proportion of returning users is primed for conversions – but more than 70% returning users may indicate a site is stagnating.
12. Backlinks – Total for Domain
Over the last few years, Google has struggled mightily to make links from other sites back to yours less important in its algorithm. Still, links are the currency of the Web.
Unless text-based content disappears, links will still be fundamental. The total number of backlinks to your site should always be increasing at least fast enough to make up for link attrition, the loss of links over time.
13. Backlinks – Per Page
Lots of backlinks to content pages within your site is a great sign. Links mean others are finding value in what you say and sharing your content with their own visitors.
If you notice backlinks increasing for a blog post, there’s a good chance you can dominate associated keywords by putting a little more time and effort into that page.
14. Social Media Shares
“Social signals” are one way search engines can discern which content is valuable without conventional links. Social shares tend to come in waves, clustering around the best content on your site.
Remember: If your follower count is growing, plenty of them haven’t seen your best work yet. Don’t shy away from periodically sharing and re-sharing your top posts!
15. Page Load Time
When it comes to making your website useful, page load time is the biggest hurdle in the way. It only takes a second – one full second, a fraction of the time it took to read this part of this sentence – for users to start wondering if something has gone wrong.
Two seconds is a noticeable delay. Tools like lazy loading and image caching can raise site performance.
16. User Agent – Desktop vs. Mobile
Mobile has exploded onto the scene and more people than ever before are using a mobile device as their primary means of exploring the Web. That said, there’s still a huge place for desktop: Namely, conversion rates tend to be higher.
Even if you have a fully responsive site that caters to users across platforms, remember you can customize content for desktop and mobile users.
17. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate refers to the percentage of times users click on your ad or other link when they see it. Higher click-through rates generally result in lower ad costs and are a good sign your campaign is reaching its intended audience.
“Good” CTRs vary by industry and platform, but you should deploy consistent split testing to keep your CTR climbing.
18. Cost Per Acquisition (by Platform)
Cost per acquisition calculates the total investment you make in getting one new user from their first visit to their first sale. In common usage, it mainly refers to costs directly related to online advertising.
It can be as simple as dividing total ad spend by total conversions, but you only discover which campaigns are most cost-effective when you segment by platform.
19. Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
Cart abandonment rate is one of the essential website metrics to keep track of if you’re operating any kind of online storefront. Though less pertinent in B2B, this figure alone can do a lot to explain a B2C brand’s online success.
If abandonment rates are high, simplifying the checkout process on your site is usually the key. Follow-up emails and retargeting can also help.
20. Conversion Rate(s)
Once your basic traffic flow is taken care of, conversion rate becomes the king of all website metrics.
In effect, conversion rates determines whether your site is generating bottom line value or not. There are many different types of conversions – from joining your subscriber list to the final sale – and it’s imperative you monitor all of them.
Here’s the good news about all these wacky and wild website metrics: Keeping track of them might seem like a chore, but pushing them in the right direction usually isn’t!
Moving the needle is usually a function of these three things:
- Clear buyer personas – Putting your ever-evolving understanding of buyers into practice.
- Sound sales funnels – Using content to add momentum to each step of the buyer journey.
- Providing value – Remembering your site (and content) are a taste of all you have to offer.
Simply committing to showcase value through a rigorous schedule of blogging will add organic traffic, backlinks, session time, and pages per session while reducing bounce rate.
Website metrics are a result of your efforts, and your efforts are always under your control.
So, go out there and rack up some numbers!