Out of all of the buzzwords you hear around your website, I bet analytics is one of them.
Especially when it comes to knowing if your website is a success or not. There are a lot of ways you could deem your website successful, but what metrics should you be tracking to get a better idea of its success?
It’s easy to be unsure of which metrics matter most to your website and how to read them. If you’re unsure of a specific metric, jump ahead to:
Now that your website is launched and live for the world to enjoy, you want to know how it’s being perceived by your target audience. To do this, it’s best to look at the data and analytics when examining the success of your website
And while you may be stressed about the importance of having a successful website, you won’t know if you do or not until you learn how to measure and track the data.
Set up Google Analytics
First things first: set up an account in Google Analytics; it’s the most popular tool you can use to measure your website’s traffic and track information about its visitors. When it comes to digital analytics software, Google Analytics is chosen by so many people because of its ease of use, the fact that it’s free, and the extensive amount of data you can see in one place.
If you aren’t sure where to begin with measuring the success of your website, this is a great place to start! Once you have an account set up, you can begin measuring a variety of information. Let’s break down six key metrics that go into your website’s success.
1. Number of visitors
Getting the right amount of traffic to your site is the first step in measuring its success. The number of site visitors is one of the key metrics you need to track. Knowing how to get traffic to your website is a must, but it’s equally important to be able to read it.
Your website’s traffic is a metric that you need to keep an eye on. If you see any spikes or sudden decreases, you’ll want to be ready to analyze why. It’s normal to see a dip in traffic to your site on Sundays, major holidays, or if any change to the Google algorithm occurs.
Get familiar with your visitors; the more you know about them the better.
2. Percent of new sessions
Once you start getting traffic to your website, you need to track how many of those visitors are returning and how many are new.
When you analyze new sessions, you’re able to determine if your website is attracting new visitors and if it offers enough incentive to ensure that past visitors want to come back for more.
If you’re unhappy with the number of new visitors to your website, think about ways you can reach new people. Or, if your number of returning visitors is low, consider the ways you can draw past visitors back in.
As a way to remain clear and concise, Google Analytics organizes your website traffic, or the number of visitors, into eight channels:
Direct: Users who visited your site directly, either by typing in the URL or using a saved bookmark
Organic Search: Users finding your site naturally by performing a search
Referral: Users who got to your site through an external link from another website
Email: Users who clicked on a link to your website from an email message
Paid search: Users who clicked on a link to your website from a paid advertising campaign
Other advertising: Users from online advertising, other than search and display, such as video advertising
Social: Visitors who came to your site through a post on social media
Display: Visitors from display advertising, like Google Adwords remarketing campaigns
These metrics allow you to see the source of the traffic, which is where these visitors are coming from. Are they organic? Did they come to your site from a social media post? What about a referral link?
Having this information allows you to better understand which areas need improvement. For instance, if you’re not getting as much traffic from email as you’d like, then it’s time to shake up your email marketing campaign. If that’s the case, check out the leaders in email marketing software that could give you the boost you need.
4. Bounce rate
The bounce rate of your website is defined by Google as “the percentage of visits that go to only one page before exiting a site.”
So, if you stay on this article for a period of time without then navigating to another article or source here on the G2 Learning Hub, that’s called a bounce and will affect the bounce rate.
A bounce rate can also be affected by closing the browser or window, typing another URL into the web browser, clicking the back button on the browser, or leaving the site completely to go to a different website.
It’s important to analyze this metric to understand when your visitors are sticking around to learn more or when they’re bouncing off. Find out which pages on your website have the highest and the lowest bounce rate. Put them side-by-side and see what’s doing well for one that the other doesn’t have and vice versa.
Tip: Seeing a high bounce rate and not sure why? Make sure the core links of your site are opening in a new window!
Remember that the average bounce rate is going to differ depending on the type of site you have.
5. CTA click-through rate
During the building and design phases of your website, creating calls to action (CTAs) is an absolute must as they direct visitors on your site to what you want them to do next.
Once they’re built, you need to make sure that visitors of your website are actually clicking them. If your CTAs aren’t being clicked, then something needs to be changed to ensure your customers begin engaging with them.
Try making them a different color, choose a different font, like Helvetica Now, alter their size, or even change where they are on the page completely. They should seem intriguing and not like an ad that you’re trying to push onto your visitors.
6. Average time on page
This may seem self-explanatory, but the metric of how long visitors are staying on your pages is key to understanding the success of your website. It displays the average time a visitor spends during a session on your site in hours, minutes, and seconds.
This directly correlates to how relevant your website is to the visitor. The more relevant they find your site, its content, or its products, the longer they will stay.
Are the website visitors staying long enough for you to get your point across? What about to spark interest in your products and services? Or, if you’ve chosen to use video on your website, are they staying long enough to watch the video from start to finish? This can all be answered by viewing and tracking this data.
Don’t think of this metric as one-and-done, as it’s one of the easiest to really dive in and examine. For instance, check out the average session of specific pages, like your About Us, Contact, or most recent blog post. If the average time on your Contact page is three minutes, chances are your contact form is too detailed and takes too long to complete. Or, if your blog is seeing an average time of 10 seconds, it’s time to create content that is more engaging to your users.
The success of your website is important to you, as it should be. You worked hard on creating it and want to see people enjoying and engaging with your content. Success isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of metric. It’s going to depend on the size of your website, how long it’s been live, and a slew of other details. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t see the numbers you’d like right away. Keep an eye on the data and find areas to improve upon; you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the results you see.
If you’ve built your website on WordPress and you aren’t seeing the success you’d like, check out these WordPress tips for beginners, from the experts!
Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)