A website is often home base for a brand's online presence. Website performance doesn't get quite as much attention as social media, content marketing and other innovative marketing solutions, but with a substandard website chugging along and offering a poor user experience, many of these campaigns will eventually reach a glass ceiling.
To go far in digital commerce, brands need a website built for the journey. Your website performance metrics can offer a blueprint to building a winning digital presence.
Almost every marketer understands the basic metrics governing website performance, including bounce rates, organic traffic and connection time. But take a moment to consider three critical metrics that often take a backseat to the better-known ones, despite being just as valuable. All of them can offer actionable insights to start optimizing right away.
Customers can't visit your website when it isn't available. This metric sometimes gets overlooked, as marketers make the assumption that their website is generally available to access, but that isn't necessarily true. Monitoring this metric will tell you how often customers are able to reach your website, and alerts set up through your analytics platform can let you know when the site goes down. Remember to track all versions of your website, including mobile.
Your total traffic count will let you know what kind of volume you're seeing, but traffic sources shouldn't be overlooked. A source breakdown is available even on Google Analytics' free platform, and it will illustrate your traffic breakdown in terms of its major individual sources as well as four broad categories: organic, referral, direct and social traffic.
Each source's performance can shed a little light on both your website marketing and the website's performance. Organic search numbers, for example, depend greatly on your website's SEO score. Referral traffic, on the other hand, will show how well you've built a presence on other websites. Social likely corresponds to how much your content is getting distributed on Facebook, Twitter and other channels. A good website will have all of these channels bringing in traffic in some form.
When traffic does reach your website, the users' behavior can say a lot about what they want from your brand. Top pages provides some illumination in that regard. As Torque notes, top-performing pages provide a blueprint of what your audience responds to most. This website performance metric can help you revise the composition and strategy of your website in the future, improving its performance in terms of qualifying leads, executing conversions and spearheading higher engagement rates.
Conversely, this metric will also show you which pages are performing worst, and this information could help you divert resources away from content and strategy delivering a poor return.
In the end, you need a diverse set of website performance metrics if you want a comprehensive view of how your site is working. Add these three metrics to your list of critical KPIs, and pay close attention when they say something is wrong.