The success metrics for one website may be completely different to another, so in order to measure how successful your website is, you first must define its goals.
In order to define your goals, you should ask yourself what do you want your website to achieve. Once you have answered this question, building a successful website is made easier and you can then decide on the metrics to use to measure your website’s success. For example, some goals for your website could be:
- To sell your products or services online.
- To showcase your work and get new business.
- To give more information and communicate legitimacy about your offline business.
- To provide information about your organization and garner support from the community.
The majority of websites will have a goal of getting visitors to take an action, whether it is to purchase an item or give the business a call. “Call to actions” on a website will often differ depending on where a user is in the purchase flow but should ultimately lead a user to take action. A conversion, in essence, is when a user clicks, buys or takes action. Examples of conversions to track include:
- A sale or purchase
- A form completed or leads generated
- A phone call
- A sign up to a service or an appointment made
- Information downloaded (e.g. a PDF or whitepaper)
The simplest way to work out your websites conversion rate is to use an analytics tool such as Google Analytics and set up Goal Conversion tracking, which can help you determine how visitors are interacting with your site and from what pages they buy. In the simplest form, conversion rates can be measured by:
Total conversions/Unique website visitors X 100 = Conversion Rate (%)
If the goal of your website is to provide more information and communicate the legitimacy of your business, then your success metrics may be more concerned with how engaged users are with the content on your website. Engagement metrics include:
- Time spent on your site
- Number of pages visited
- Pages per visit
- Bounce rate
- Social shares or mentions
One assumption is that the lower the bounce rate, the more pages visited and the higher the time spent on site will mean that a website visitor is engaged and interested in your content.
Even if the main success metric of your website is a conversion, it is good to also keep checking your websites engagement metrics as the more engaged a visitor is, the more likely they will be to convert.
If the goal of your website is to create awareness about your organization and garner support from the community, measure your site’s success by some or all of the following acquisition metrics:
- Number of gross visits
- Number of unique visits
- New visitors Vs returning visitors
- Inbound links
Acquisition metrics are good indicators of how your marketing efforts are performing as they show how many people are reaching your website. If your goal is to create as much awareness as possible of your organization, the new visitors vs. returning visitors metric may be extremely important.
If you are a location-based business and using an analytics tool like Google Analytics, you will also be able to see where the visitors to your site are located to make sure you are targeting users in the correct location. “Referring Sources” can also be looked at to see which websites are driving you traffic or whether they are arriving to your site via search engines.
Although for many businesses the goal of their website will be to convert, a close eye should be kept on these acquisition metrics as it is likely that the more traffic a website receives will ultimately result in more sales or leads generated.