At one point in the life of your business (as long as you’re building or selling something useful), you will start to attract an audience to your website. After all, your website is the online hub of all your inbound marketing efforts. If you’re implementing a good Inbound Marketing strategy and executing on it, then you will start to drive traffic to your website and your landing pages.
With every visit comes an opportunity for you to convert visitors into leads and customers. How well you manage to get these visitors and convert those visitors into leads and customers depends all on how good you’re at optimizing your website for the right metrics.
For any marketer, metrics provide a deeper insight into how your website is performing. They will tell you how many people are consuming your content, and what they are doing with it if they like it or not. By looking at the right metrics, you can figure out which pieces are working and which pieces of content should be improved. If your organization is already a bit bigger, it can also give you the credibility within the company that Inbound Marketing is powerful and that it is worth the investment.
If you’re trying to take your marketing efforts and your conversion to the next level, H. James Harrington in the above quote is certainly right. It makes sense then, to start looking for insights from your website. There are a lot of different tools out there (including our own Inbound Rocket plugin). But let’s look more into the essential metrics you should be tracking and how tracking these can help you optimize your website’s conversion performance.
#1 Traffic Sources
How did people get to your website? Did they come in via social? Google search? To be able to have a steady flow of website visitors, you need to try to get a diverse portfolio of website traffic. You split up the traffic sources in three different categories:
- Direct visitors: these are the visitors, who already know you, they type in the URL in their browser and come to your website directly
- Search visitors: these are the visitors, who were searching for a certain topic using their favorite search engine and ended up on your website
- Referral visitors: these are the visitors, who end up on your site because someone referred to you. This could be on another website, but also via a social channel like Twitter or Facebook for example
Checking your traffic sources will tell you how well your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts are performing. If the visitors coming in via search is around 50% of your total traffic, this is a good thing. However, if your newsletter is only bringing in 3%, you need to start investing some time into making your list quality and the content you’re sending out better. If not a lot of visitors are coming in via social channels, maybe you should make it easier to share your content so more people will share your content, which will in turn bring in more visitors.
#2 New Versus Returning Visitors
Although there are three different ways to differentiate the origin of your website visitors. Your visitors themselves can be put only into two categories. New visitors and returning visitors. Either someone has visited your website before, or they arrive at your site for the first time. Inbound Rocket can measure this using our visitor tracking technology, but in Google Analytics this can be easily viewed as well.
Although you want a healthy set of new visitors arriving at your website, you do want them to return as well. Having people return to your website, will help in your lead nurturing process. One-time visitors are way more difficult to convince to convert into a lead.
Try developing a strong content marketing program and try to make the initial conversion with just an email address as easy as possible. As soon as you have a visitor their email address it makes it easier to try to convince them to come back by sending quality content with links back to your site. Give people a reason to return to your website, try to post new content in a consistent timing, etc.
#3 Interactions Per Visit
Even if you think you might have spent hours and hours improving your site for everyone, it’s very difficult to make something truly converting for all your visitors. Not all your visitors will convert, these are the facts. However, it’s still important to monitor their behavior on your site. What are the things they were doing, how did they move on from one article to the next, and maybe they even shared an article?
The big questions you can ask yourself by reviewing this data, how can I get them to do more of this, and even better, how can you influence this behavior so they do turn into conversions.
#4 Time On Site
One of the signals Google is using to evaluate how good a site is is Time On Site (TOS). TOS refers to how long people spend on your site per visit, as well as per page. Some good piece of content can keep your visitors there for a couple of minutes, a badly written piece, containing not much information though can have your visitors leaving faster than they arrived.
Of course, it’s very difficult still for a computer to understand how well something is written. Search engines though then look at the TOS as an indicator. The more time your visitors spend, the better it is.
Try looking up your TOS (average. session duration and average time on page), how much time are your visitors’ spending? Do A/B tests on different types of content if you can, or try to produce more content that people are spending the most time reading. Another thing you can do is maybe add a short video to your content. Even if a visitor doesn’t watch the entire video, it can still help to improve your TOS and with it, your Search Engine Ranking.
#5 Your Site’s Loading Times
The faster your website loads, the better. Not only because people might go away from your page because it takes to long to load, but also because this helps in your Search Engine Rankings. Google Analytics can tell you what the average loading time is for your pages.
Google also has a very helpful page, called Google PageSpeed Insights which will give you lots of recommendations on things you can improve and adapt to make your pages load faster.
#6 Page Visits
Although page visits are a bit of a vanity metric, they are still important. Whether it’s just your blog or your contact page, you want to know how many people came to your site. This is an easy to look into metric, but also the biggest indicator of web traffic, and the number of people who are looking at your content. If you have a 60% conversion it’s great, but if you only have ten visitors per month you still will be out of business very soon.
Try to set a goal for yourself where you increase the amount of traffic each month consistently. It might look like an impossible task, but it’s worth it. There are still a lot of things you can test to improve, even if you have little amounts of traffic.
#7 Bounce Rate
We already dedicated an entire article just to improving your Bounce Rate, but it should not be missed in this overview as well. The Bounce Rate is the rate at which new visitors leave your site immediately after visiting just one page and doing nothing (very low time spent and no interactions).
A lot of the above items will give you the insights to lower your Bounce Rate. There are a lot of different things which can lead to a higher bounce rate, maybe there are no Call-To-Actions (CTA), or maybe too many and you’re confusing your visitors. Have a look at your Bounce Rate and try to lower it!
#8 Your Exit Pages
The last page a visitor visits before he leaves your site is called an Exit Page. If all goes well, this should normally be the thank you page after your landing pages or the confirmation page that an order went completely through. By looking at your analytics, you might find that there are other pages, though, which is the last thing a visitor sees.
To try to increase your conversions you need to understand, what is different about those pages, and what is the reason that people are leaving your site on those particular pages. Have a look at your data to identify these pages so you can start optimizing them.
#9 The Value of Each Visit
The value of each is linked directly to the number of interactions a visitor has. To calculate the value of each visit, you divide the total value created by the number of visits. If you make $600 in revenue from 1.000 visitors for example. The value per visit is $0.60.
This is a very simple approach though and it can’t always be that black or white. For example, if someone comes back to your site after his or her purchase to leave a positive review it will increase the value of your site because based on this review more people might be eager to buy. But how much did this review increase your site? Or maybe someone mention you on a different site or social media, these people haven’t directly raised the revenue but they sure added value. Be careful when calculating this number.
#10 The Cost of Each Conversion
The last metric we want you to focus on follows directly from the value of each visit. Although this is the last metric, this one is probably one of the most important ones. Just like having a conversion of 60% with only ten visitors a month is something to worry about, if this 60% conversion (even if the conversion value is high) comes with a high cost, then your business is not going to survive. Always keep this in mind when you’re trying to increase your conversion rate!
These are the ten most important metrics for any website to track. Every business wants a higher conversion on their website, if your business is taking steps to make these ten metrics perform in a more successful manner, you’re on the right track.
Which metrics are you already tracking and how are you tracking them? What is the metrics you find critical for measuring and optimizing your performance? Leave them in the comments!