Websites can be beautiful. In fact, the most amazing ones I consider to be works of art. A lot of the most attractive websites are uncluttered, easy on the eyes, and simple to navigate.
However, you can't judge a website by its cover. To truly know how successful your website is, you need to dive into the data and analytics.
While measuring success can't always be about the pretty colors, fonts, and textures, Google Analytics is somewhat color-coordinated for all of you right-brainers. And for all the left-brainers, this is your chance to truly to shine.
Data and analytics must be the foundation when judging the success of your website. So, what metrics should you be checking? Let's take a look.
1) Number Of Visitors (And Their Source)
One of the key metrics to check is the number of visitors your site sees each month. Getting people to come to your site is always the first step, right?
Keep an eye on spikes in traffic or sudden decreases. When you see a big increase, you'll want to know where it came from. If you see a big drop-off in visitors, you'll want to figure out as quickly as possible how or why it happened.
Also, take a look at how the visitors are getting to your site. What is the source they are coming in from? Are they finding your site through a Google organic search, from social media channels, or from a referral link?
Get to know the trends on your site.
2) Bounce Rate
Google defines bounce rate as "the percentage of visits that go to only one page before exiting a site."
This could include visitors who:
- Leave your site by clicking an external link on the web page
- Press the browser back button
- Type another URL into the web browser
- Close the browser window or tab
- Don't interact with the web page for a long time and go to a "session timeout"
You need to understand whether the visitors you're driving are sticking around when they hit your site or are leaving right away.
Have you made a recent change or update to your site that could be causing a higher bounce rate? If so, see if you can make a fix to solve the problem.
Take a look at the sources and determine which are sending visitors with the highest bounce rates. Understanding this data helps you to make improvements and focus more on sources that send quality traffic to your site.
Also, understand the nature of the page you're evaluating. If you have a Contact Us page and people are going there to find your address, that page might have a high bounce rate and it NOT be an issue.
Blog articles are also frequently associated with high bounce rates because people get the blog notification, visit the page, read the article and then leave--just like you would expect them to. Again, not surprising.
Keep this metric in context to the page and its purpose before you start worrying about a high bounce rate on certain pages.
3) Average Time On Page
How long are your visitors hanging out on your pages? Is it long enough for you to get your point across?
Perhaps you have informative videos on your site and the goal is for your visitors to watch them. If the videos average about four minutes in length, does your average time on the page reflect that your visitors are staying long enough to watch the videos?
Much like when analyzing your bounce rate, take a look at which sources are sending you the most qualified visitors who spend enough time on your pages.
4) CTA Click-Through Rate
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a critical aspect of every web page. You need to direct your visitors to the next thing you want them to do (i.e., download now, view more, add to cart). If your CTAs are not being clicked, you need to make changes so your visitors take the next step toward becoming customers.
CTAs offer a great opportunity to do some A/B testing with placement, size, design and text to analyze what is driving users to click through.
Try to use colors that stand out but don't look spammy. Make your CTAs seem intriguing enough to click while still looking valuable and not like ads. It's a balancing game, but do some testing and you'll figure out the right way to go about it.
5) Conversion Rate
This could be the metric you're already most familiar with. However, there are many different kinds of conversion rates.
Site-wide conversion rate looks at the performance of the entire website. Typically this should be plus 1% but good sites can convert site wide at 2% or higher.
Landing pages also have conversion rates. These are page specific conversion rates and typically range between 20% and 40%. The reason they're higher is these pages are collecting visitors who are arriving with very specific objectives. They want to get your eBook or subscribe to your email newsletter or register for a webinar.
These pages are also typically where you should look for quick wins that drive additional marketing qualified leads. By making just a few tweaks on these pages, you can drive a significant number of new leads.
6) Goal Progress
The first thing you should always ask before kicking off any project is, "What are the goals?" Tracking your progress toward those goals is just as important. All goals should be SMART— specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Deeming your website a success is about more than just how it looks from the outside. Actually measuring its success requires an in-depth look at the analytics and data.
Luckily, tons of data and resources are right at your fingertips. Don't waste any more time. Start digging into those analytics today!
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