Building a great website is just the start. Once it is built then you need to start tracking and optimising it to make sure it is kicking goals. Here are my top 5 tips for tracking your website performance:
(Note: the following tips assume that you already have analytics installed on your website, such as Google Analytics. If not then you will need this installed before you can track the performance of your website.)
1. Website Traffic
Analyse the traffic to your site and see if you can identify areas for improvement. There are several areas you should be looking at as part of this metric:
- How much traffic is coming to your website in total? i.e. what is your daily, weekly, monthly audience?
- How is this performing over a long period? i.e. is your traffic increasing?
- Are there time/date trends that you can exploit? i.e. are you seeing traffic increases during school holidays, weekends or at a certain time of day?
- Who is visiting your site (demographics)?
You should already know this information if you are serious about using your website as a marketing tool, but if you don’t then it’s not too late to start. Once you have the data then this becomes a baseline for your content strategy and conversion pathways moving forward. You should always be looking for ways to increase your traffic in a positive way.
What does that mean? It means making sure that you are attracting the right kind of traffic, and you can figure that out using the next 3 tips.
2. Average Time on Site
Take a look at the time that users are spending on your website. Look at the average time on site and what the performance trend is over a given period of time.
Are your users spending only 1 or 2 minutes on your website? If they are then is this enough time for them to ‘convert’? If your website is focussed on e-commerce then I would guess that isn’t long enough.
While it isn’t uncommon for a user to come to your site multiple times over a period, the users average session duration should be long enough for them complete the goal that you have set out for them.
If your content is engaging the user then they will spend more time of your site and be more likely to convert.
3. Bounce Rates
To define what a ‘bounce’ is in simple terms, it means a user came to your webpage, didn’t like what they saw, and left straight away. They haven’t stayed on your site and interacted with it, or digested any content. They have literally landed and left.
Needless to say then, a high bounce rate is not a good thing for a webpage. It means that either: a) the content on your webpage isn’t engaging, or b) the people landing on your webpage aren’t finding what they are looking for.
Just looking at the bounce rate on a single page may not give you the full picture though. By looking at the behaviour flow you may actually find that the users aren’t necessarily leaving your website, they have just navigated away to try and find the information they are seeking.
Example – a bounce from a page may not be a bounce from the site
Have you ever gone to a website before to find an address for a company? The first thing you do after landing on the homepage is to navigate to the ‘contact us’ page, assuming the information is there. But what if you land on that page and it isn’t there? Do you leave the website completely, or do you go back to the home page and try again? Perhaps you click on the ‘about us’ page to see if the information is there, or maybe it was on the homepage all along.
In this instance while your contact us page may have a high bounce rate, it doesn’t mean the user still didn’t want to be on your website, it’s just that the information they were seeking was there.
If you are seeing high bounce rates on your pages, have a think about what the purpose of the page is and how users might interact with it. Does the content on the page align with this? Also, take a look at the meta-data for the page, and how that page appears in search results. It could be that the information presented in the search engine is what is grabbing the users attention, but when they are landing on the page they aren’t finding what they need.
(Note: fixing your bounce rate has a positive effect on your sites SEO. This is because Google connects the keywords that the user searched and assumes that if the users are staying on your website then your webpage must be relevant to the search and the user. It will then give your site a boost the next time someone uses the same search term.)
4. Conversion Rates
Next is how many of the users that are landing on your website are actually converting. A conversion is where a user achieves a predefined goal that you have set out on the page. It could be to download a flyer, to fill in an inquiry form, make a purchase, or to call your business. Whatever your conversion goal is, you should be tracking it.
If your site has a low conversion rate, then look at the behaviour flow of the users along the conversion pathway and see if you can determine where your leads are dropping off. You can try things like changing your content, changing your conversion method, or changing your conversion pathway to improve your conversion rates.
5. Page and Website Performance
This one should probably be at the start because it should be done before you start looking at the data on your analytics, but I have left it till last because it is usually the last thing that everyone thinks about!
How well does your website perform from a user experience? Think about the following:
- Speed – does the user have to wait for an age for your site to load? Long load times = higher bounce rates
- Device compatibility – does the user get a great experience on mobile, tablet and desktop?
- Accessibility – is the site in the right language for the users? Are dates and times in the right format? Is the text large enough for users to read? Is the site simple and logical to navigate?
There are a number of tools that are out there for you to use to test and manage your websites performance and usability. Here are a few I recommend:
- Google Webpage Insights (tests page speed and optimisation for both desktop and mobile)
- Speed Testing (test page speed and give insights to developers as to what it slowing load times)
- Google Webmaster Tools (helps your search listing in Google and also offers insights on some SEO issues)
NewyMedia is a digital marketing company based in Australia. If you need help setting up website performance tracking, or if you already have the tracking set up but you need some help analysing the data, then we are here to help. You can contact us here, or sign up below to join our mailing list for more great tips and advice.