Like most businesses today, you’ve probably invested a lot of time and money into the development of your website and other online applications. You may have hired a team to design the layout, navigation and graphics, and even to write high quality content for your site. These are all very important steps to getting the most out of your website, so if you’ve done all of the above, you’ve invested wisely.

The next step to maximizing the ROI (return on investment) of your website is to measure and analyze its key performance indicators, or, KPIs. Depending on your industry and business type, there are certain performance metrics that will have a greater impact on your success than others. So what are KPIs, and how do you know which ones to focus on for your business?

Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators are a type of metric used to evaluate the factors that significantly impact a business’s bottom line. They differ by industry and organization, and can be used to assess many aspects of a business. Moz has a great selection of website performance tools, and Hubspot offers a variety of tools to determine how your website is functioning as well. Here is a list of other great website performance tools.

When it comes to measuring website performance, there are several KPI metrics that can be used. With so much data available, it can be overwhelming to know which KPIs to focus on. By closely monitoring the following key performance metrics, you can determine which areas of your website are doing well, vs. those areas which may need some improvement.

1. Measuring Your Audience

One of the most important things to measure on your website is your audience reach and impact. You can do this by tracking your visitors, which is typically done using Google Analytics or some other analytics tool. You’ll need to find a way to track the number of visits (Google Analytics refers to these as “sessions”), and unique visitors (Google Analytics calls these “users”), as well as to determine the number of new vs. returning visitors your website receives each day.

By measuring users and sessions and comparing your numbers periodically (monthly, quarterly, annually), you can determine if your audience is growing, and if so, how quickly (or slowly). It’s crucial to have a mix of new and returning users, though the exact percentages vary by industry, goals, and more. Returning visits are a positive sign, since they indicate that people are thinking about your brand, and may be thinking about making a purchase.

2. Analyzing Your Traffic Sources

In addition to tracking the number of visitors and the number of visits they are making to your website, it’s important to determine how your visitors are getting to your website. Are they coming through Google? A social media marketing campaign? A directory listing? An email blast? A pay-per-click (PPC) ad? What specific keywords are leading potential customers to your site?

How are your visitors getting to your site?

Google Analytics automatically groups visitors into different categories based on demographics, geography, interests, etc., in addition to segmenting visitors by traffic channels source/medium, referrals and more. Analyzing your traffic sources and audience behaviors allows you to get to know your potential customers better, and to improve your marketing techniques based on that knowledge.

Common traffic sources include:

  • Organic – Traffic generated by relevant keywords and/or your business name

  • Referrals – Traffic that comes to your site through websites that link to your site

  • Direct – Traffic generated by those who type your exact URL into their browser

  • Email Marketing – Traffic generated by links in email marketing campaigns

  • Paid Traffic – Traffic generated by PPC search engine ads, retargeting ads, etc.

  • Social Media – Traffic that comes to your site through social network links or ads.

3. Measuring Bounce Rate and Average Session Time

Generally speaking, the longer a user spends on your site, the more likely they are to make a conversion of some sort. If a person visits your site and then immediately leaves (bounces), it is unlikely that they found what they were looking for, or that they will return to make a purchase or convert in some other way.

For example, if a business or consumer is looking for a specific medical device that you sell, and they arrive on your website through a digital ad, email marketing campaign or keyword search, they will be expecting to find that medical device relatively easily. If your medical device website is optimized for the most relevant industry keywords, then users are less likely to leave quickly or bounce.

As long as your website is relevant, user-friendly, and easy to navigate, a user will likely stay for longer, and may view several pages on your site. They may not make a purchase right away, but the longer you are able to keep them on your site, the more likely they are to eventually make a purchase. In addition, lower bounce rates and longer sessions times increase your search engine ranking statistics with Google, which increases the likelihood of your website being found.

4. Measuring Conversion Rates

Now that you have an idea of how many users are visiting your site, how many times they are visiting, where they are coming from, and how long they are staying, you need to determine what they’re doing once they get there. Are they signing up for your newsletter? Downloading content? Requesting a quote? Sending a message? Or are they not taking any action at all?

Getting people to your site is only half the battle. In order to increase conversion rates, you need to have clear call-to-actions on your site in the places where people are likely to look for them. Using the medical device industry as an example again; if you have a page focused on the benefits of a particular medical device, you may want to encourage visitors to “Learn More”, “Request a Quote”, “Contact Us”, or “Download” content, such as an e-Book or whitepaper.

5. Measuring Profits and ROI

Determining the cost of your conversions and your overall return on investment is perhaps the most important KPI of all. If you’re spending more to get conversions than you are receiving in profits, then of course you have a problem. Then again, maybe you’re just breaking even. By measuring and analyzing all of the other KPIs for your website listed above, you can learn how to increase your overall profits by adjusting the results of these performance metrics.

By measuring and analyzing the KPIs, it becomes easier to determine what areas of your website are functioning better than others. Make sure you are aware of some common KPI warning signs. With the right website performance tools and/or team of professionals, it makes tracking and analyzing your data simple. 

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Ben Bassi
By Ben Bassi

Founder and CEO of CommonPlaces, is a seasoned Internet veteran and marketing executive. His extensive experience in Web-related business dates back to the early ‘90s; with a career specializing in digital strategy, planning, and marketing.

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