How can you tell if your website is “successful?” They say success is relative, but when it comes to something like site performance, it’s not as relative as you might think. There are existing metrics that measure how well a website is doing; providing a clear, generalized standard that works for everyone. This makes it easy to determine your website ranking and content performance in a matter of minutes.
Of course, there are at least two dozen metrics out there. Some are a bit more comprehensive than others, while others suit certain types of websites or industries better than some.
How do you know which ones to track?
As your average business owner putting out average (or above-average) content, we recommend focusing on these three specific analytics:
Arguably the metric that every business owner, marketing manager, or site owner looks at first is organic traffic. And it makes sense too, since the number of real visitors you have is a good indicator of your website’s bearing and visibility.
(It’s also an incredibly easy metric to track on Google Analytics.)
It just stands to reason that if a lot of people are going to your site, your content is probably pretty interesting.
Likewise, losing visitors means you’re losing relevance.
Other metrics are more in-depth and will provide more detail of your actual performance, but traffic is the first metric you can look at to get a quick, decent snapshot of the health of your website and corresponding content.
Traffic can be further broken down into unique visitors and repeat visitors. Unique visitors indicate how many new potential leads you’re generating in a specific period of time. Repeat visitors, on the other hand, indicate that your retention strategies are working.
2. Bounce Rate
“Bounce rate” refers to the number of times someone clicks on your website, explores it for a hot minute (or second), and then immediately clicks out. These are the visitors who, for whatever reason, don’t stay very long. They’re in and out in ten seconds flat.
Hence the term, “bounce.”
Analytics don’t count “bounces” as actual visitors, because they don’t stay long enough to actually accomplish anything on your website. In fact, a “bounce” can be considered the opposite of a visit, as it’s actually detrimental to your website ranking. If someone leaves your website that quickly, it means either of two things: a) they didn’t find what they were looking for, or b) the site content didn’t live up to their expectations.
Either way, both alternatives are a sign of poor website performance.
It’s impossible for your bounce rate to be at 0, as sometimes people do click on the wrong website by accident. But it’s definitely a metric you should constantly monitor. If it steadily rises or jumps an unusual amount in a matter of weeks or months, then it means a good portion of new visitors aren’t finding any reason to stick around. This is definitely something you’ll want to remedy ASAP.
3. Visitor Sources
It’s also worth knowing where your website traffic is coming from, as this information could further bolster your marketing efforts. It can tell you which area of your lead gen strategies is working and which areas, in comparison, need a little more work.
If you’re using a tool like Google Analytics to track this, then you may notice that traffic sources are roughly separated into four general categories: 1) organic search, 2) referrals, 3) direct, and 4) social.
“Organic search,” refers to visitors that found your website by conducting a search—whether your business specifically or a keyword/phrase related to your business—via a search engine. “Referral,” refers to the visitors that are redirected to your website from another website.
“Direct” traffic counts how many people visit your website by directly typing your website’s URL in the address bar, and “social” traffic is—as the name suggests—visitors that are redirected from social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.).
Knowing where most of your traffic is coming from can help you optimize your marketing efforts either by focusing on the areas that need work or eliminating them completely.
For instance, if the bulk of your website traffic comes from an organic search, then your SEO is off the hook. On the other hand, if you invested a decent amount of resources into social media marketing, but only a small portion of your total unique visits are from the social category, then you may need to review your social media strategies.
Likewise, if more than half of your visitors are going to your website directly, it could mean your retention tactics are working great but your SEO, social media, or affiliate methods need more work.
Keeping on top of your website ranking is important—for several obvious reasons. You need to constantly track and update your information in respect to how your site and content are performing, otherwise you risk stagnancy. Consistent progress and improvement is the best way to optimize your site for success.
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