Today, there is quite literally a website for everything. But as everyone knows, putting a page up on the web does not guarantee its success.
Obviously, there are millions of websites, possibly thousands of which offer similar products, services, and ideas as you. That’s why you need to differentiate yourself from your competition—and getting a feel for your site’s effectiveness is a great way to develop your differentiation strategy.
As a site owner, you need to know how to best assess your site’s performance and analyze whether or not it’s effectively fulfilling its purpose.
For this, many entrepreneurs use Google Analytics to provide a full picture of who their audience is and which pages are effectively capturing their interest. But even with using analysis tools such as Google Analytics or SimilarWeb, you need to know what to look for in order to adequately gage your success.
So, here’s 7 of your site’s most vital key performance indicators (KPIs) that you should always keep top of mind.
1. Site Traffic
Your site can be an elegantly designed, poetically written masterpiece full of the most valuable and original information out there. But needless to say, if nobody visits it, all your effort is for nothing.
Ways to increase unique visitors include making your site easy to use, guest blogging, creating new partnerships with industry leaders, and cultivating your own online community. Remember that people crave social experiences. Therefore, by creating great content, getting your name out there, and creating a place where users can gather and discuss strategies that are important to them, you are making your site practically irresistible to your audience.
2. Average Page Views
Simply put, some pages are just more relevant to your audience than others. For example, your “about the product page” is generally perceived as more valuable than a blog page displaying pictures of your company’s Christmas party. Your average page views will reflect this numerically by illustrating which pages get the largest amount of visitors and how long they are willing to stay.
Obviously, this data indicates how useful each particular page is to visitors. Comparatively speaking, if the number of visits on one page is significantly less than another, that page’s content may be less valuable.
Therefore, you should consider changing the page’s content to include information more helpful, relevant and targeted information. Other strategies include linking your content, including images and videos, and increasing page load speed.
3. Time Spent on Site
As I previously mentioned, your site exists to provide value for your users. Therefore, if visitors come to a page and immediately leave, it could mean your site is not in accordance with their needs and expectations.
Having a high bounce rate is not a great indicator of overall site performance. But thankfully, there are easy ways to fix it. Make sure your site is simple to navigate and organized.
Never cram too much text onto one page (as it will repel most users). Finally, make sure your site is reliable and secure; while e-commerce trustmarks ensure your site is trustworthy, which will help people stay long enough to access your content.
4. Exit Rate (and Intent)
Obviously, the point in which visitors exit shows where people lose interest in your offering. The entire time a visitor is on your site, he or she is constantly questioning, looking for any reason to prove your site is not worth his or her time. The point in which they exit is where they have found their proof, or at the very least became bored.
You can get a good feel for that point by looking at a heat map, which reveals where people are clicking and reading, and which areas of your site people are ignoring. This could be an extremely valuable indicator of areas that need to be tweaked to appeal to your target audience.
5. Referral Sources
How a user came across your website can be a key indicator of what information they are searching for. If they came from Google while searching a specific keyword, they are probably looking for something different than someone who saw your blog post about another topic altogether.
Referral metrics are vital, as these stats allow you to alter your content to fit particular segments. In addition, referral stats help you know which strategies are working and which ones are failing to bring in visitors.
6. Conversion Rate
By far, one of the most important KPI’s you should examine is the rate of conversion. Since your goal is to drive people to specific actions, it makes sense to analyze how many of your visitors actually perform desired actions.
Boosting conversions can be complex, but employing strategies such as A/B testing, creating content that communicates values and minimizes risks associated with the desired action, and providing case studies to prove your point, can improve conversions over time.
7. Return Rate
Though one-time sales are great, returning customers are even better as they reflect brand loyalty. Obviously if you can succeed in achieving customer loyalty, you will have a dedicated customer for years to come. Even better, since the best relationships are formed via word-of-mouth, having a customers rave about you to their friends and family is always a great way to grow your audience.
Thankfully, achieving loyalty is not necessarily as difficult as it was in the past. Of course, your own content certainly plays a key role in giving your brand a voice of value to the customer, but relationships are never one-sided. So, it is therefore important to take it to the next level through methods such as user-generated content, encouraging conversation, and empowering influencers.
Having a keen awareness of your site performance is a necessity in today’s market. By considering these key performance indicators, you can better measure your site’s impact and help you to build better relationships with customers through a more effective and engaging website.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Spot.IM is his fifth venture. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict. Connect with @spot_im on Twitter.