Tracking the more important website metrics is essential for any business. At first, Google Analytics may seem like a mind-boggling task. There are so many different reports, statistics and metrics to view, let alone comprehend and analyse. Try to focus on gaining a good understanding of the following important website metrics.
Regularly review each and you’ll gain the data you need to assess how your website and your content is performing. Amend, tweak and add to your website content regularly to improve performance. Then analyse again to measure effectiveness.
Using Google Analytics is a sure way to help you improve conversions via your website. So let’s look at the following key metrics to get you started:
Important Website Metrics
Traffic Sources or Acquisition
The first and most obvious metric you’ll want to track is how you received the traffic in the first place! How did the visitor find you or where did the visitor click, to arrive at your website? There are four primary sources of traffic that google tracks:
Direct: visitors that have found your website through typing in your exact URL into the address bar of their browser.
Organic Search: visitors that have used specific keywords/search query to find your website.
Social: visitors that have arrived at your website after visiting one of your social media pages.
Referral: visitors that found your website by first visiting an external blog or website that mentioned your website.
The above 4 are all important website metrics to monitor. A worthwhile question to ask yourself is – Which of the above categories is driving the most clicks to your website? And how does this change per month or during your campaigns? By knowing what your average category metrics are, you can assess the success of social media campaigns or referral sites on a broader level.
Take a deeper look at your social visitors and assess metrics for each social media channel. If you’re paying for referral websites, how are these fairing in comparison to your free referral websites? You can even delve further into each category and view the pages that are visited by each. Your social visitors may display different behaviours to your organic search visitors, i.e. they may visit less pages. This insight would suggest that you may need to change your content strategy on social media channels. For example, ensuring appropriate call to action prompts are included on the 1st or 2nd page interaction if less pages are viewed.
New versus Returning Visitors
It’s imperative to gain new visitors, but equally vital to get people coming back to your website. This is especially true for online stores that rely on repeat customers for a large proportion of their profits. Take a look at the behaviour of both types of users. What’s the bounce rate, conversion rate, average time spent and the number of pages viewed on your website? These are important website metrics. As a general rule, returning visitors should show better results, proving you’ve made it worthwhile for them to return. Hone in on where your new visitors are located and ensure you assess metrics for your specific region by filtering the data. Then you’ll be able to more accurately assess results. For instance, if you’re a local supplier and have a high overall bounce rate, you may find this is skewed by the drastically higher bounce rate for overseas visitors.
What is the conversion rate for your returning visitors and how can you increase it? We’ll cover conversion rates further down. However, if your conversion rates are low, an idea would be to offer an incentive or coupon code for returning visitors as a strategy to increase results and sales.
How many customers didn’t interact with your website? If a visitor arrives on your website and instantly clicks off your site or shows no interaction with the landing page, this is known as a bounce. You want to do everything in your power to minimise bounce rate. A high bounce rate can be indicative of several issues. These include (but are not limited to) poorly written or unconvincing content, poor website design, irrelevant or weak sources of traffic, poor usability or lengthy load times. It could also signal that your meta description needs improvement, as it may not be representing the content on the landing page accurately.
It is common for blogs to have a higher bounce rate than product or services pages. This can be due to visitors only having an interest in the information contained within the blog, and then moving onto another blog to continue their research.
Top 10 Landing Pages
What are your top 10 landing pages? A landing page is the first or initial page that a visitor views when first entering your website. Visitors can enter your site through a blog or other page, and may not necessarily enter via your home page. Assess your top 10 landing pages and ensure they are successfully leading visitors onto other relevant website pages or provide an obvious call to action. This can be signing up to a newsletter, making an online purchase, downloading further information or making contact with you. Your top landing pages can show you what topics or blogs are more valuable to your target market. You can use this data to add more relevant content to your website, by introducing new blogs or pages.
The behaviour flow report highlights the path that visitors take when navigating your website. Which pages are mostly viewed after the initial landing page? What’s the bounce rate for these pages? If there are a large percentage of drop offs on the 1st or 2nd interaction, you may need to revise your content.
You can also add segments to this report by looking separately at the behaviour of your organic traffic, returning visitors or bounced sessions. This can signal specific pages of importance to returning visitors for example, in comparison to new visitors. What pages are new visitors exiting before they reach your contact page or another destination page? If there are too many pages navigated and no conversion made, it may be time to revise your content. Visitors could be finding it difficult to find the information they are looking for, or there may not be sufficient or clear call to action prompts on pages viewed.
It’s very useful to find out the actual search queries that triggered impressions. A search query is the search term that a visitor types into their browser or search bar when researching a product/service. This can be invaluable information, as you want to ensure your website includes relevant search queries that lead to conversions or visitation to your website. Search queries can reveal new keyword ideas for you to use within your website, either on a new page or on existing pages.
The ‘Queries’ report under ‘Acquisition/Search Console’ is a helpful report for you to assess how your website is ranking for specific search queries. This report can also pinpoint a need to revise your meta description for any specific search query that is not performing well (evident by a lower click through rate). Optimising meta descriptions is very important to your website SEO.
Prior to gauging your website’s conversion rates, take time to set up specific goals that measure how well your site is achieving your target objectives. Without setting goals and analysing your conversion rate, it’s virtually impossible to effectively evaluate the success of your website or marketing campaigns. Once you have set up any of the following types of goals, you’ll be able to measure the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your website.
Destination goal: visitor arrives at a specific page on your website, i.e. ‘thank you’ page after registering or completing a form or purchase.
Duration goal: setting a goal for visitors to spend a specific amount of time on your website, such as 5 minutes or longer spent on website.
Pages/Screen per session: a specific number of pages or screens you would like visitors to view, i.e. 4 pages have been viewed.
Event: a specific action has been taken by the visitor, i.e. played a video, clicked on an ad, made a social recommendation.
Use Google Analytics to effectively measure the performance of your website. If you feel you need additional training, there are some helpful courses provided in Google’s Analytics Academy. They’re free and will get your Google Analytics knowledge up to speed in no time!
Once you’re comfortable with using the platform, take the time to set up custom reports and a personalised dashboard for your business, that summarise some of the most essential metrics above. There’s also a range of custom reports, dashboards and segments available for you to import, already created by other users. You can access these for free from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery! Take the time to get to know your Google Analytics web analytics service and you’ll benefit from the boundless supply of information it brings your business.
What important website metrics do you find the most valuable to track to assess performance? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
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