There are essentially two very different types of performance standards when it comes to your online presence. Both should be taken very seriously, thoroughly explored, and given equal significance.
1. Statistical performance
We have people who examine multiple avenues of marketing and statistical analysis of our website, but when I break the information down, I'm primarily concerned with the number of opportunities and leads that we're generating. Site traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate are all important indicators of how the leads came to us. After all, you need to also know how to improve the number of leads that you're getting. But, although knowing that 100K people found your site is cool, if they aren't your customer then it's just a number.
This brings up the endless debate over what constitutes a lead, and how is that distinguished from an opportunity. It's reasonable to argue that they are one and the same. From a traditional sales perspective, if somebody expresses an interest in your product, whatever it may be, then they have become a sales opportunity and, consequently, a lead.
From an Inbound marketing approach, however, a lead is somebody who has somehow fallen or walked into the funnel. They have either filled out a form, signed up for an offer, or have in some way been identified as someone who has connected with you. They may not have indicated that they would like to buy what you are offering, but they are in your CRM. By reaching out to this person, and marketing to them in a particular way, they may become a legitimate lead.
2. Physical performance
Just as important is how well your website is technically performing. What is your page load time? With the increasing availability of extreme high speed Internet service, load time can make the difference between success and failure of your online business. I expect we've all visited a URL that we haven't been willing to continue waiting for, whether the primary page or subsequent. Amazon has calculated that a slowdown of page load time by just one second could cost them $16 billion dollars in sales over one year. Time really is money, even one second.
There are two approaches to take in order to solve the problem, and they are similar to how auto companies might solve the problem of how to make a car go further on a tank of gas. They could choose to increase the size of the gas tank, or they could improve the engine's performance. The end results might be the same, but the methods could not be more different.
The website could operate on a bigger server, with more hardware and resources. It's a clumsy method, but it works. After a while, though, you exhaust the limits of resources you can add to it. If you make the website more efficient, with caching methods, different approaches to loading the page, and identifying and attacking the bottlenecks, the visitor sees what you (and they) want to see much faster. With greater efficiency methods there are opportunities for continual updates and tweaks. Amazon is undoubtedly investing enormous amounts of money into fine tuning techniques.
Both views of website performance standards are interconnected. You will never get that lead into the funnel if your website performs poorly. In fact, if your visitor gives up on your website too soon, there are no statistics to study at all!