Launched a nifty website and think that your job is done? You must proactively measure how your website scores in terms of various relevant metrics. See we have deliberately used the word “relevant.” Why? Because there are innumerable metrics to track, but you should adhere to the ones that have to do with the industry you are operating in. So now, you need a powerful tracking tool cut out for your purpose. And Google Analytics is a great choice for webmasters. Getting started with Google Analytics is as simple as ABC, but when it comes to going beyond the usual and getting new insights from the tool, the task gets a little tricky.
We sketch out an overview of the top 10 metrics that every website owner should pursue religiously with this offering from Google, regardless of the nature of their business:
At the fundamental level, you are interested to know how many people are visiting your website. Google Analytics will analyze your website traffic from two different angles: sessions (total number of visitors) and users (unique visitors or the number of unduplicated visitors). If you notice your website is going strong on the sessions metric, you can feel happy about the fact that you have a loyal band of visitors. But, don’t ignore unique visitors. Rather implement ways to boost your site’s discoverability. Otherwise, you will remain out of reach of a new audience.
This metric will tell you through which channels visitors are entering your site. Broadly speaking, there are four channels for the traffic to flow in: organic search (searching keywords on a search engine and then coming via the search results), direct traffic (coming by directly typing the web address of your site into a browser), referral traffic (coming by clicking on external links that lead to your site), and campaign traffic (coming from advertising campaigns). It’s important for you to nurture the sources driving the major chunk of your traffic.
A sense of negativity is associated with bounce rate. It refers to the percentage of visitors who landed on a particular page of your website and departed right away. In other words, they have not ventured to visit any other page. You can also call it as single-page sessions. High bounce rates are an obvious indication that your website is not hitting the mark in aesthetics, call to action, or content departments. However, don’t shake in your boots as in certain cases a high bounce rate is normal. A high bounce rate can also help you in identifying ways to engage your visitors better so that they are enticed to move forward on your site.
You are not running your website without rhyme or reason. You want people who visit your site to take a specific measurable action (purchasing a product, filling a form, subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading an e-book, and such). And when it happens, you can say that you have converted a visitor. So, the percentage of visitors converting is the conversion rate. In the world of Google Analytics, conversions are known as “Goals.” Since the metric has a considerable bearing on the ROI of a site, you have to always keep it healthy.
Keep a close eye on the most popular pages where the traffic lands. The information will stand you in good stead when setting up a conversion-friendly sales funnel. Remember that landing pages are the gateways holding the power to prod visitors to explore your site further. Make sure that these pages have clutter-free calls to action, great content, or eye-catching design. The more “sticky” your landing pages are, the more it’s beneficial for you.
On the flip side of landing pages, you have the exit pages. These are the pages from where visitors are terminating their journey on your website. The problem arises when almost all your landing pages double up as exit pages. Most likely, visitors are unable to find what they have expected.
For any business nowadays, engaging with consumers on a range of social networks is common. With the network referrals metric you can gain insights into which social media platforms are sending more traffic to your site and how your content is being reflected in social conversations. In short, you get enough ammo to give wing to your social media marketing strategy.
Unless you create riveting content on your web pages, visitors will feel no urge to stay on them. Find out what content pages or sections are forcing visitors to linger on and bringing them to the verge of conversion. To understand which content is performing better over the other, you can turn to A/B testing.
This metric has a close connection with the preceding one. If your website monetizes chiefly through displaying ads, then measuring average time on site is crucial for its existence. The equation is self-explanatory; when average time on site increases, your prospect of charging a higher amount for ads becomes brighter. You need content that resonates with your visitors to arrest their attention for a longer duration.
Late last year, Google has revealed that upwards of half of all searches done on it originate from mobile devices. Further, with the introduction of “mobilegeddon” update on April 21, 2015, mobile-friendliness of your site matters. Hence, it pays if you get an accurate picture of your mobile traffic.
You are now familiar with a select set of website metrics. And hopefully, we have managed to hammer home the point that tracking metrics is well worth the effort. Your website is your primary digital representative. You can’t rely on some shots in the dark to improve its performance. Only robust factual evidence in the form of data garnered via tracking gives you a dependable framework for judging site effectiveness. What we discussed in the article were some basic metrics that you can track, but if you wish to move ahead in your analytics maturity, learn more about Nabler’s Google Analytics Services.