What Metrics Should You Be Tracking On Your Website?

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on February 18, 2011
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So you’ve built a website to promote your business. Now it’s time to see what kind of results your fancy new site gets you.

You’ve probably already set up Google Analytics or another visitor tracking system to get the big picture (if not, what are you waiting for?) — but do you know which numbers to pay attention to? It’s great to get visitors, but by studying what they’re doing on your site, you can increase your site traffic and overall sales. Here are a few data points to pay attention to:

1)   Referrers. In simple terms, how are visitors finding your site? Are they coming in through Google, Facebook, Twitter, or paid advertising programs? Study which sources are sending you the most traffic, and compare each source in terms of its visitors’ engagement with the site (i.e., how many pages they view on average and how long they spend there). That can help tell you where to focus your marketing efforts.

2)   Conversions. Your conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors who complete a stated goal — whether it’s purchasing a product from your online marketplace, or simply signing up for your newsletter. Carefully study the factors that lead to a conversion: How do converting visitors typically find your site? Which pages do they go to before completing the conversion goal? Use the insights you gain to improve your marketing strategies and increase your conversion rates in the future.

3)   Bounce rates. This term refers to the percentage of users who leave your site after viewing just one page. Typically, a high bounce rate (say, 80% or more) is a sign that your visitors aren’t actively engaged with your site content or design, so changes are in order. Check out Occam’s Razor for some tips on reducing a high bounce rate.

4)   Keywords. Study the search terms that are drawing visitors to your site. Do they reflect what your business is about? If not, focus on optimizing your search marketing efforts by creating a blog focused around your niche. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to see what terms visitors are searching for, and create content to draw them in and introduce them to your business.

What else do you think it’s important to track on your website, and what are your favorite analytics tools? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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