10 website metrics you should be tracking

Everyone running a website wants to maximize their performance and bring in the most amount of visitors possible, but it isn’t always obvious which metrics indicate how well your website is doing.

In order to best understand how well your website is performing you’ll want to be looking at your website’s analytics. Popular tools such as Google Analytics and Kissmetrics will give you mountains of analytical data to look through, but you may be left wondering – what do these metrics mean?

Since our Google Analytics posts performed so well, we’ve decided to expand on that and introduce users to what the most important metrics mean.

In this guide we aim to give you the knowledge you need to be able to determine your website’s performance, and eliminate any confusion you might face when looking at your website’s analytics.

Let’s go over the 10 most important website metrics that you should be tracking.

1. No. Of Visitors

The first thing you’re going to want to know is just how many people have visited your website. Visitor numbers will be the biggest indicator of web traffic and will most likely be the first thing you’ll be looking for.

While you might be wanting to understand how many people have ordered from your store, or how long people stay on your website, none of that will matter if you don’t have website visitors in the first place.

Not only is the number of visitors one of the most important metrics available, it’s also used to calculate a number of other metrics such as conversion rate, bounce rate, and session duration.

Increasing the number of visitors to your website will be your biggest goal, and most of your efforts will be aimed at growing this. There are a huge number of ways you can drive traffic to your website, far too many to cover in this guide, so we will just cover some of the most well-known ways of increasing your website visitors.

  • Marketing campaigns: If you start an active marketing campaign to promote your products, you’ll see a growth in website visitors if you’re successful
  • Advertising campaigns: Paid advertisements across platforms like Google, Facebook, or Twitter is a sure-fire way to bring more visitors to your website
  • Backlinks: Getting backlinks, or links placed on other websites directing back to your website, can be a great way of driving traffic to your website

While it’s important to monitor the amount of new visitors you get to your website, you should also be checking how many return visitors your website gets.

Return visitors are website visitors that have already visited your website before. Having a lot of return visitors can indicate that your website has engaging content that makes the user want to return. 

2. Bounce Rate

Bouncing from a website is something that happens all the time, and it will have no doubt happened to you plenty of times.

When you visit a website, usually from a search engine result from Google for example, you find that the website doesn’t have the information you’re looking for and you leave the website after a few seconds. This is referred to as a visitor who has bounced. The ratio of total website visitors to those who have bounced is called the bounce rate.

Having a high bounce rate is bad news for your website. Not only does it show that your website visitors aren’t engaging with your content, it also shows Google that people aren’t staying on your website for long. This can in turn affect your website’s SEO ranking, and cause it to appear lower in the search results.

High bounce rate can indicate several things:

  • Your landing page has poor usability
  • The page has bad design
  • The page loads slowly
  • Page content isn’t relevant to their search
  • Your landing page isn’t optimised for conversions

In order to lower your bounce rate you should evaluate your landing page from a design perspective as well as a usability perspective. Make sure the page is designed well, is easy to use, and that all information on the page is relevant to the website’s subject matter as well as engaging.

3. Conversion Rate

When a website visitor performs a certain action on your website, such as subscribing to a newsletter, filling in a form, or purchasing a product, this is referred to as a conversion.

Your website’s conversion rate is the ratio of website visitors that complete this action on your website. This action will depend on the type of website you’re running, and can usually be determined by setting a goal in your analytics platform. When the user completes this goal it’s tracked as a conversion.

A high conversion rate on your website generally indicates that your website is performing well and is converting visitors. You may however want to track the conversion rate for specific website pages, so you can get an idea of which pages are performing better than others. Comparing these figures can give you an understanding of how your strategies are working out.

Improving your conversation rate can be done by optimising your website for conversions. This means designing the page so that users can easily find the call-to-action, without spending ages looking for prompts. Check that your content, design, and other elements are optimised to allow visitors to easily convert.

4. Session Duration

Session duration is an easy enough metric to understand – essentially it’s how much time a visitor was active on your website during a single session. That means how long they’re on the website from the moment they land on a landing page, to when they exit the website.

This is another good indicator of how engaging your website is – if your visitors stay on your website longer, chances are they are more interested in the content you’re providing.

Depending on the type of website you’re running, session duration may not be a completely reliable metric. If your website isn’t based on user interactions then you may see a lower session duration, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your website is performing poorly. If your website is focused on showing the services and products you offer, then session duration will give a good indication of how interesting and engaging visitors find your website.

Session duration is used by Google to help determine the website’s ranking, because when a visitor stays on a website for longer then it shows Google that the page is relevant to the search term. You should always be aiming for a higher session duration.

5. Average time on page

Measuring just the session duration of your website visitors only gives you a partial understanding of how well your website’s individual pages are performing. In order to determine that, you need to take into account the average time on page metrics.

As the name suggests, this is the average time a visitor spends on a specific website page. This metric shows you the actual engagement of your site visitors when considered alongside the average session time.

Average time on page gives you an understanding of how long people are looking at the pages of your website, and can be very useful when determining why certain pages might be performing worse than others. 

If you see a low average time on page then that would be a good indicator that that page has uninteresting content that your visitors don’t want to engage with. The inverse is also true, with a high average time on page indicating that they’re engaged with the content.

6. Traffic source

All of your website visitors will be coming from somewhere, before landing on your website, and this will usually be a search engine or a different website. Wherever your visitors are on the internet that drives them to your website is considered a traffic source.

There are three main sources of traffic:

  • Direct visitors: Visitors that access your website by typing the website URL in the search bar directly.
  • Search Visitors: Visitors that find your website through a search results on a search engine like Google, then click through to your website.
  • Referral Visitors: Visitors that arrive at your website by clicking a link on a different website.

Each of your marketing strategies should be aimed at bringing in traffic from one, or several, of these sources. SEO campaigns for example, will focus on bringing in more search traffic. Advertising campaigns might focus on bringing in more referral traffic.

Keeping track of your traffic sources should allow you to determine how successful your tactics are. Use bounce rate to also understand how relevant this traffic is.

7. Device Source

Device source is a very useful metric that you can use to understand what devices your visitors are using to access your website.

These metrics will show you whether your visitors have accessed your website on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It will even tell you exactly which device they were using.

Not only will you be able to see exactly what your visitors are viewing your website on, it’ll also give you an indication of how well optimised your website is for mobile viewers.

You will naturally see a large portion of your visitors using mobile devices but if you see that number dropping, then that might be an indication that your website isn’t very user friendly. Google Webmaster Tools will also give you notifications if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, which also helps illustrate just how important mobile optimisation is.

8. Interactions per visit

The interactions per visit metric is another interesting metric that you should monitor.

Interactions per visit will show you the average number of interactions each visitor makes with your website while they’re on a website page.

This should give you a good idea of how often visitors are navigating between your website pages, taking actions such as clicking buttons or prompts, and engaging with your website content. Analysing this information should show you which areas of specific pages are attracting more engagement from your website visitors.

Usually you will want to see a high interactions per visit number, however this won’t be totally relevant for all websites. Informational websites like blogs that don’t rely on user interaction will quite often see much lower interactions per visit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the website is performing poorly.

These metrics can be especially helpful when you’re running an online store. You’ll be able to see exactly which product category is popular, which products are selling, and which areas are under-performing. 

9. Landing page

As the name suggests, the landing page is the first page that a website visitors lands on when they arrive at your website.

These metrics will show you which pages your website visitors are landing on the most. This can be especially useful when you’re trying to understand which pages your website visitors are seeing first.

Much of your website traffic is going to come from social media, referral traffic, and marketing, so with the landing page metric you can see if your efforts are directing visitors to the correct pages as you intended. If they’re landing on the wrong page then it might indicate that you need to refocus your content.

When you’re trying to increase conversions you’ll find that the design of your landing page will heavily influence your visitors’ actions. As such, you’ll want to make sure that each of your landing pages are optimised for conversions, depending on the type of strategy you’re using.

10. Exit page

The final metric we’re going to discuss in this post is the exit page metric.

Eventually your website visitors are going to leave your site, to visit another website or finish their browsing session. The last page that your website visitor is on when they leave your website if referred to as the exit page.

You can use these metrics to determine the reason why people are abandoning your website. For example if you have a certain page which people are leaving more frequently than other pages, you can then investigate why visitors are leaving this page. You can pinpoint exactly which areas of your website need design improvements or to add more engaging content.

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