Using website metrics and tracking your leads and conversions should play a vital role in measuring what’s working and what’s not on your company’s website. Building up a history of metrics will enable you to identify trends and opportunities, analyze your traffic data to consistently improve your site’s effectiveness, and monitor your lead generation process, conversion rates, and your return on investment.
Which Website Metrics Program Should You Use?
There are a lot of web statistics packages available for little to no cost. However, we recommend using Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/), a free web analytics tool to track these statistics.
What Should be Tracked?
Here are 5 recommendations to help you monitor your website, leads, conversions, and your return on investment.
Web analytics programs will enable you to track the number of visitors to your site and determine how many are new visitors versus returning visitors. Tracking these numbers over time, and before and after marketing initiatives, will show growth trends and help you to determine the effectiveness of your different advertising initiatives. For example, if you place an ad in a newspaper and it runs on a Tuesday. Through your web analytics program, you will be able to see the number of visitors to your site on Tuesday and compare it to past Tuesdays to see if the ad drove traffic up.
It’s important to monitor what your site’s visitors are doing once they get to your site. If the visitors are coming to the site and then immediately leaving (this is called your site’s bounce rate), you may need to take a close look at the content on the page, update it, and then monitor results. You can also track the number of page views, average page views per visit, and average time spent on the site. Obviously, the more time and pages viewed, the more likely visitors are to have found useful information, which may culminate in new business for you. You should also keep an eye on exit pages as trends may indicate problem areas on your site. Many times, visitors won’t enter your site via your home page. If you have a blog on your site, the blog posts may be the landing pages for many. It’s a good idea to track your top landing pages and the bounce rates for each. This can help you identify which landing pages are the most effective and which aren’t.
Tracking your site’s traffic sources will provide a wealth of information. You will be able to see who is coming to your site directly by typing in your site’s url, who is coming from referring sites (ex: your partners’ sites, online directories, etc.), and who is being directed to the site by search engines. Direct traffic usually indicates the visitors found your url offline. Referring sites provide opportunities for increasing traffic. If you notice 25% of your traffic is coming from an online business directory site, for example, you may want to consider boosting your presence on that site, if that site’s audience is your target audience.
Many people use search engines when seeking out products and services. Your web analytics tool will show you which keywords your site is coming up on and are driving traffic to your site. You can also discover keyword opportunities you may be missing out on and use these keywords when creating new pages or blog posts for your site or in pay-per-click campaigns. If you use Google Analytics as your web analytics tool, you can also monitor your pay-per-click campaigns.
Leads, Conversions & ROI
Quality Traffic is Key
Generating lots of traffic to your site is well and good but only if the traffic is high quality and made up of your target audience. You will know whether you are reaching your target market or not by the number of leads you receive from your site.
For static websites that conduct their business offline, a good way to track leads is to establish lead-generating “calls to action” on your site and then track these numbers. Examples of these lead generators can be: completing a “Request More Info” or “Quote Request” form, signing-up to receive your email newsletter, downloading of an e-book or white paper, calling a phone number with an extension used only for website leads, etc.
Converting Leads Into Customers
Once you have captured a lead, you will want to nurture this lead and then track the number of leads who are converted to customers (your conversion rate). So, if 5 of the 20 leads actually purchased something from you or became a customer, your conversion rate is 25%
If you have an ecommerce site, you can track leads in the same way as many visitors may not be quite ready to purchase but need to get to know your company better first.
To recap, here is a list of metrics that should be tracked on a regular (monthly or quarterly) basis:
- # of Total Visits
- # of Absolute Unique Visitors
- Ave. Unique Visitors per Day
- Ave. Page Views per Visit
- Ave. Time on Site
- Bounce Rate
- New Visitors
- Returning Visitors
- Top Landing Pages
- Top Exit Pages
- Top Content
- Social Media / Share Button Stats
- Traffic Sources
- Top Referring URLs
- Lead Generating Goals
- # of Leads
- Ave # of Leads per Month
- % of Visitors that Turned Into Leads
- % of Leads that Turned Into Business (Conversion Rate)
- Ongoing Return on Investment (Revenue – Cost)
Other valuable metrics to monitor:
- Visitors’ Browsers
- Location of Visitors
- Visitors Using Mobile Devices
- Map Overlay (Monitors Traffic Patterns)
- Network Properties (Visitors’ Computer Speeds, Operating Systems)
Monitoring your website’s traffic data to consistently improve your site’s effectiveness is key to making sure you are spending your time and resources efficiently. Using the website analytics mentioned above and monitoring performance provides you with very valuable information that enables you to make educational and informed decisions based on statistics and measurements rather than intuition and guesswork.