Website Performance Metrics: Which Ones Should You Be Tracking?

There’s an old saying that often gets thrown around in marketing circles. “What gets measured gets managed.”

What it means is you often only work on those things you pay attention to. You can only make improvements when you know what needs to be improved. Or you can do more of what you know works!

Sadly, some businesses focus their marketing efforts on getting social media ‘likes’ or ‘follows’. But they’re not the best metrics to measure success. They’re known as vanity metrics, able to boost your ego (but not your business).

If vanity metrics are no use, then what can you track instead? Looking at your website performance is a great way to measure progress against your business goals.

Which website performance metrics do you need to track? Read on to find out.

1. Website Traffic

This one sounds a bit obvious but it’s the best place to start. How much traffic does your website actually get?

Those visitors will go on to buy from you or contact you. The more visitors you have, the more chances you have to convert them into customers.

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula to work out your ideal amount of traffic. That amount varies depending on the business.

Checking traffic on its own won’t tell you very much. But tracking increases in traffic is more telling. This shows you if advertising or content marketing campaigns are working.

Analyse your traffic on a monthly basis. Compare rises in traffic to whatever you were doing in your marketing or advertising.

Once you isolate what you’re doing well, you can do more of it.

While you’re tracking traffic, also pay attention to the source. Organic traffic is better because it shows that your website appears in search engine results.

Over 40 per cent of revenue comes from organic traffic. So it’s worth getting it right.

2. Bounce Rate

You’ve managed to get traffic from the search engine onto your website…and now what? Where do your visitors go next?

If they click away, chances are you’ll never see them again. This is what your bounce rate refers to. It’s those visitors who leave without navigating around your site.

One way to guide visitors to stay on your site is to give them things to do. Provide links to similar content so they navigate within your site, instead of away from it.

Or create a path that eventually leads them to your products or services page. The longer you keep the visitor on your site, the better chance you have of turning them into a customer.

Even if they don’t buy from you this time, they may sign up so they can buy from you in future.

This ‘time spent’ relates to the performance of your website through the bounce rate. The lower the figure, the longer visitors spend on your site.

For higher figures, work out how you can keep traffic through interlinking or providing better content.

Fixing Poor Bounce Rates

You should identify the reason for poor bounce rates. It’s not necessarily a lack of links between pages that’s the problem.

It could be that pages take too long to load. Compressing image sizes or using caching to improve load times can help. Consider the aesthetics of your website design.

Check your e-commerce solution to make sure transactions happen smoothly. If they cut out for any reason, potential customers will go elsewhere.

3. Returning Visitors

According to the Pareto Principle, you’ll make 80 per cent of your business from 20 per cent of your customers. There are ways to track your best customers within your e-commerce solution.

But you can get a sense of these returning visitors from your performance metrics. If most of your website’s user sessions come from returning visitors? Your website is performing well and your content is keeping them coming back.

That means you’re more likely to convert them into customers in the future. Or they’re already customers and they just love your brand. In which case these people can be excellent brand advocates and promote you to others.

If you have a very low percentage of returning visitors, then you need to re-evaluate your website. Either your content doesn’t provide what visitors are looking for. Or your advertising doesn’t accurately represent who you are and what you do.

4. Content Engagement

Content engagement gives you a great metric as to how people receive your content. That could be blog posts, white papers, case studies, or testimonials.

Some businesses think the only way to track how users engage with their content is through social media.

But it’s too easy to share a post you haven’t actually read so you can’t guarantee a reader was engaged.

Instead, look at how many comments your blog posts get. Check the quality of the comments too. This shows you how many people are engaging with your content while they’re searching online.

Tracking how many of your older posts also gives you an idea of what you’re showing up for. If your older content gets a lot of comments? Try updating it with newer tips or advice to stay current.

5. Conversion Rate

It’s also important to track how well your website converts visitors. Depending on the search intent of the visitor, they should become either a subscriber or a customer.

Visitors to your blog posts will probably become subscribers first. If you use content upgrades, you can track what content resonates with visitors based on where they sign up.

These visitors were gathering information about their problem when they found your website. They’re not ready to buy yet. But keep sending valuable and useful content to help position your brand as the company to buy from.

Any visitors who land on your sales pages should become customers. They’ll buy your products or services based on what they find.

Tracking the conversion rate from traffic to these pages helps you identify weak spots. If conversions are low, you may need better testimonials or reviews. Or your product pages may need better photography or descriptions.

Which Website Performance Metrics Do You Track?

Now you know what website performance metrics you should check to track the success of your marketing.

Each of them, even in isolation, will tell you how well you’re doing. But only if you compare metrics with previous data. This gives you the insights into which direction you’re going in.

If you find you’re not seeing the increases you hoped you would? Contact us and we’ll get you back on track.

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