5 Website Metrics to Help You Optimize Performance

In talking to a lot of business owners, they frequently tell me they don’t know how to tell if their website is adding any value because they don’t know what to look for.  Taking a look at these 5 web site metrics will help you understand how your web site is functioning and give you some options for improvement.

Google Analytics view
Google Analytics will show you the 5 key metrics discussed.

1.  Total Unique Visitors.  This is the total number of individual visitors to your site within a specific time frame (you can select the time frame), not counting repeat visits from the same individual.

This data on unique visitors is useful because it tells you if your content and campaigns are driving new traffic to your web site.  Over time, you want to see this number going up.  If it isn’t, you may want to reassess what you’re doing with your content and campaigns.

2. New vs. Repeat Visitors.  This measures the number of new visitors vs. those who come back more than once.

The value in looking at this metric is that it gives you some indication as to how ‘sticky’ your content is that it’s encouraging visitors to come back for more.   Sources like Hubspot suggest that if your repeat visitor rate is only in the single digits, you might not be offering enough valuable information to prospects.  And if your repeat visitor rate is higher than 30%, you aren’t really growing your audience enough to generate new business.  A healthy rate of repeat visitors is around 15%.

3. Traffic Sources.  This will show you the break-down of specific traffic to your site–direct, organic and referral.

Direct traffic is that which is coming directly to the site by keying in your web site’s URL, visiting your web page from a bookmark, or that has clicked on a link from an email or document that you produced.

Organic traffic comes from a link found on a search engine results page.  Referral traffic comes from a link that appears on another website.  Keeping an eye on your traffic sources keeps you aware of how well your search engine optimization efforts are performing.  Ideally, you’ll want to see your share of organic traffic rising until it reaches 40 to 50% of your total traffic.  And for referral traffic, target that to deliver about 20%-30% of your overall traffic.

4. Most/Least Popular Pages.  This will tell  you the most and least visited pages on your web site.

This will tell you the pages on your site that people find the most interesting.  And for those pages that people visit most frequently, think about adding an email opt-in box or a registration form for a piece of downloadable content.

5.  Bounce Rate.  The number of visitors to your site that leave almost immediately after arriving without interacting with any other pages on your site.

A high bounce rate means that the content on your pages isn’t compelling or useful to visitors to encourage them to stick around.

A high bounce rate may suggest some general problems with how you’re marketing your site.  Maybe you have inbound links from irrelevant sources.  It might also indicate problems with your site in terms of its architecture or weak content with no clear calls-to-action.

These 5 metrics will help you determine how your web site is performing over time and can suggest some next steps or actions to take with your web site.  Looking at your site analytics on a monthly basis should be part of your marketing routine.  This analysis will then suggest other actions that should be part of your marketing routine to show progression over time.

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