There are no two ways around it: your website’s statistics are crucial to the success of your website. In fact, the most successful websites track their numbers every single day.
We understand that tracking numbers can be overwhelming, especially given the seemingly infinite number of metrics that you can measure. Which ones actually improve your website? Which ones are worth tracking?
We will take a look at seven of the most important metrics you should measure. These will not only improve your website but can also improve your relationship with your audience, increase conversions and ultimately grow your business.
The good news is that seven is a very manageable number.
If you’re new to tracking your website’s performance, Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that can track just about everything you would ever want to know about your website.
We’ve covered the topic of how to master Google Analytics before – a great companion piece to this article, ideal for both beginners and more advanced users alike. Now, on to the most important metrics.
1. Number of Visitors
We will start off with an easy and yet very important metric: the number of visitors that your website receives. Tracking this metric will provide you with an indication of how your website is performing – whether it’s growing or declining.
If, for example, you’re noticing that traffic has been decreasing over the long-term, it is clear that you need to make changes.
Your traffic can be broken down into unique visits and repeat visits. Ideally, these should increase alongside each other.
If that’s not the case – perhaps repeat visits out number unique visits – it means that while you are establishing a loyal base of readers, you also want to look into how to attract new visitors. This is key to growing your business.
In short, website traffic won’t tell you everything you need to know, but it gives you an overall glance at your website’s performance and can suggest if what you’re doing is working or if you need to make changes.
Here is how you can increase traffic to your website.
2. Traffic Sources
Not only will you want to look at your website’s traffic to get an idea of the overall health of your website, but you also want to pay attention to where your traffic is coming from – i.e. your traffic sources.
An analytics tool like Google Analytics breaks this down into four different categories, including organic search (search engine traffic), referral (traffic coming from another website), direct and social.
Your sources reveal important details about your website. By paying attention to your organic search traffic, you can determine how well your SEO strategy is working. Your social traffic can give you an idea of how engaging your content is.
If both are lacking, you may want to think about your SEO strategy and, of course, how to create more engaging content.
In general, you should have a balance of traffic sources. It is never a good idea to rely on one traffic source.
3. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who land on your website and then leave immediately. If you have a high bounce rate, this is a sign that there are problems with your site.
Keep in mind that the most important pages on your website should not exceed a bounce rate of 50%.
Of course, while a high bounce rate tells you that people are leaving, it doesn’t tell you why.
There may be several different factors at play, from a slow loading website to poorly targeted keywords to the fact that people are not finding the information they are looking for (perhaps because of poor content).
A low bounce rate, in turn, tells you that your visitors linger on your site and are finding valuable content.
Keep in mind, however, that there are times when a high bounce rate is ideal – on contact pages, for example. Beyond that, you are going to want to look into your website’s loading speed. With that in mind, here are some easy ways to reduce bounce rate.
Also note that your high bounce rate may also be explained by not having properly installed the Google Analytics code.
4. Conversion Rate
Your website’s conversion rate is a very important metric because it tells you exactly how you are meeting your goals.
If you are an e-commerce website that sells items, looking at the conversion rate will give you an idea of how profitable your website is. By the way, if conversion rates can increase by 1 or 2 percent, you will potentially see a doubling of your profits.
That said, conversions can differ by site. Conversions may also be the number of people that subscribe to a mailing list or a count of landing page conversions.
For all intents and purposes, conversions refer to the desired action that you want your website to take – the goal of your website. Regardless of what your goal is, it is still a very important metric.
It is important not to confuse ‘total conversions’ with ‘conversion rate.’ It’s the rate of conversions that you want to pay attention to.
You can determine your website’s conversion rate by the following equation: Unique Visitors / Conversions. However, you can also find this information on Google Analytics.
If your conversion rates are low, there is room for improvement on your website depending upon your goal. You may need to look into attracting more targeted customers and improving your calls to action or your sales copy.
5. CTA Click-Through Rate
Another very important metric is your CTA click-through rate. Your CTAs serve to guide your visitors as to what you want them to do, whether that’s download your e-book, making a purchase or any other number of things.
If your CTA click-through rate is low, chances are your conversions are going to be low since CTAs are such an important part of conversions.
There are a lot of elements that go into creating effective CTAs, which we’ve talked about on our blog a lot before. In short, an effective call to action should be clear, simple, large in size and have persuasive copy.
By persuasive copy, we mean that you should try to get the person to want to click on the button now, whether that means including the word ‘free’ in it or giving visitors a deadline.
Here is a look at all the ways you can increase your CTA click-through rate.
6. Time on Site (TOS)
When it comes to the topic of the most important metrics to track, time on site (TOS) is often on the list. Time on site refers to how long visitors spend on your website and per page. Time on Site (TOS) provides a good measure for how informative your content is.
If people are leaving within seconds, chances are you might want to reevaluate your content. After all, quality content is a key part of ranking. In fact, Google takes a look at how much time people spend on your site to determine how good the quality of your content is.
You can improve this metric by experimenting with A/B testing to determine which types of content produce the best results for your site. You can also add videos to your page to increase TOS. Even if people only spend a few seconds watching it, it can still improve TOS.
7. Top Pages
Your content is arguably the driving force of your website and therefore tracking your top pages – the pages that receive the most views – can provide you with a guide as to what content your audience responds to.
If you want to produce different types of content, you can track the results of your experiment through this metric.
Keep in mind, however, that when it comes to determining your top pages, traffic isn’t the sole determining factor.
The number of social shares on those posts also indicates engagement. There are a lot of plugins out there that will track such numbers such as WordPress’ Social Metrics Pro.
In short, paying attention to this metric will allow you to produce the kind of content your readers want.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of metrics out there, but the ones on this list are some of the most important. Tracking your visitors gives you an idea of the overall health of your site.
Your content is a large part of your website, which is why so many metrics are designed to measure how well your content is performing, including your traffic sources, bounce rate, time on site and top pages.
You will also want to ensure that you have thought about the broad goals of your website (i.e. conversions) and track these accordingly.
If you are in need of a tool to help you keep track of the numbers pertaining to your clients, such as the number of appointments booked, profile views, number of clients and more, Yocale can help you.
Yocale is a powerful scheduling software that also offers a free suite of business management and marketing tools.
What metrics do you keep an eye on and why? Let us know below – we’d love to hear from you.