Website Metrics

website metricsYour marketing efforts are centered on your website. Driving traffic to your site, gathering leads and converting leads to customers are all important marketing activities you must address if you sell a product or service. You can gauge your site’s effectiveness by employing one or more website metrics. I’m going to focus on on-site analytics, which Wikipedia defines as how you “measure a visitor’s journey once on your website.”

Here are some basic website metrics you should consider:

1)    Number of Unique Visitors: For a given time period, the number of different individuals who visit your website. If you run marketing campaigns, you should see coinciding upward spikes in visits. In general, you’re doing well if you see a steady positive slope to your traffic rate. A flat or negative rate is a red flag indicating problems with your site and/or your marketing strategy.

2)    Repeat Visitors Ratio: This is ratio that compares the number of unique visitors to the number of repeat visitors. If you have an interesting site and compelling offerings, you will have no trouble garnering repeat visitors. If the ratio dips below ten percent, consider taking corrective action. On the other hand, a high rate (greater than 30 percent) might indicate that you aren’t pulling in enough new visitors. Aim for roughly 15 percent, as this represents a good balance between growth and retention.

3)    Traffic Sources: A percentage measurement of each traffic source:

  • Direct: visitors who come to your site by clicking on a direct hypertext link from a document you have posted, a bookmark, or typing your URL into a search engine.
  • Organic: visits resulting from clicking on unpaid search results.
  • Referral: clicking on a link originating from someone else’s website.
  • Paid Search: traffic that arrives due to paid ads, such as Google’s AdWords.

Ideally, you’d like about 50 percent of your traffic to come from organic sources, and about 33 percent from referrals. Paid search is expensive, and I see no reason for it if you have the time and skills to boost your organic traffic (more on this in later posts).

4)    Number of Backlinked Sites: Each unique hypertext link from an external URL is called a backlink. Backlinks are referrals, and they drive traffic to your site in two ways: direct link and enhanced search visibility. Obviously, a high and growing number of backlinked sites is very positive for your site’s popularity. You can purchase paid link packages that, when correctly executed, help raise your site’s profile.

5)    Page Popularity: a measure of the relative popularity of your most- and least-visited web pages. Popular pages are good – they telegraph the interests and needs of your visitors. You should consider placing calls-to-action on these pages. On the other hand, you should re-evaluate, revamp or remove unpopular pages.

6)    Indexed Pages: a count of pages that are reachable via searches. Search engines cannot deliver traffic to web pages that are not indexed, so make sure all your pages are indexed.

7)    Conversion Rate: what percentage of visitors perform some desired action, called a conversion. There are various types of conversions, from filling out a data form to buying your product. Pay attention to the finer conversion statistics, such as visitors vs. leads, leads vs. customers and visitors vs. customers. High conversion rates indicate your marketing funnel is successfully scooping up a sufficient number of quality leads.

8)    Bounce Rate: the depressing statistic of what percentage visitors leave your site without visiting a second page. Lackluster content is often the culprit. It can also indicate that you are getting referrals from irrelevant sites – something you should try to correct, as search engines may penalize you for this. In general, your best defense is to increase the value of your content and optimize your website design.

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Copyright 2012 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer

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