How do you know if your website is successful? The only way to answer this question is to measure website performance. tools like Google Analytics offer many different metrics out of the box, so the amount of data you can collect can easily become overwhelming. Without clear guidance, it can be difficult to choose the right metrics to gain meaningful insights.
In this guide, I want to help you figure out which elements are moving the needle by discussing essential metrics that will help you understand your website’s performance from a user experience perspective. With this knowledge, you will see that your data analysis has a real impact on your website performance.
7 essential metrics to track on your website
- Number of unique visitors.
- Number of recurring visitors.
- Origin of traffic.
- Top performing pages.
- Rebound rate.
- Exit Pages.
- Conversion rate.
1. Number of unique visitors
This metric will tell you how many people visited your website during a specific time period (i.e. last 24 hours, last week, last month, etc.). The number of unique visitors is the first indicator you should collect, because it help you understand your audience size. If you do not‘t have a significant number of unique visitors, tracking other metrics does‘This doesn’t make much sense because your analysis will likely be biased. In this case, first and foremost you need to attract more visitors who represent your target audience. While there is no universally accepted formula for you to calculate the exact number of unique visitors you need, you can calculate the number of visitors in proportion to the size of your company or content producers.
Once you’ve done that, a number of unique visitors will help you answer two crucial questions:
- Do I need to make changes to my server infrastructure? The number of unique visitors will help you predict the load on your network infrastructure. For example, let’s say you know you have 10,000 unique visitors every day. In this case, you can calculate how much computing power you need to allocate to deliver the best possible performance to each visitor.
- Did my last ad campaign work well? If you plan to launch an advertising campaign to acquire new visitors, you can measure the number of uniques before and after the campaign. The difference between the two values will tell you how many people were attracted to your website, which will help you understand whether your campaign was successful or not.
2. Number of returning visitors
Most companies strive for high user retention. In website terms, people who visit your website regularly are called returning visitors. If the number of repeat visitors is increasing, it indicates that your website is providing content that your audience finds valuable. This metric works well when you’re doing backcasting, which involves making changes to your website and tracking the impact of those changes on your target audience. Say you are running a news website and you want to introduce a new content section to see how it affects your audience. If you see that the number of returning visitors has increased, it can clearly indicate that your visitors appreciate this new direction.
3. Traffic Sources
Knowing the number of visitors to your site is essential, but so is determining where those visitors are coming from. Users may land on your site from search engines (eg Google, Yahoo, Bing), social networks (eg Facebook, Twitter, etc.), email newsletters or any web page linked to your website. When you track the performance of your traffic sources, you will understand which channels are working most effectively for you (i.e. more visitors, better engagement, etc.).
You need to evaluate the traffic sources in combination with the average session duration. This way you will see the level of user engagement by traffic source. For example, if you find that visitors from your email newsletter spend an average of five minutes on your website, but search engine visitors only spend a few minutes, your email newsletter is almost certainly generating a better engagement.
4. Top Performing Pages
People visit websites for content. So knowing where people spend most of their time on your site will tell you what kind of content they find valuable. The five or ten best performing web pages will help you understand what you should be offering your visitors. This information is especially useful for content-heavy websites like ezines and blogs, as it allows you to produce more material that will generate better engagement.
5. Bounce rate
Bounce occurs when someone visits your website and immediately clicks the back button. The bounce rate tells you the percentage of visitors who didn’t find what they were looking for. Getting zero bounce rate is next to impossible because people can accidentally land on your website (i.e. from search engine results). But reducing the bounce rate should be a top priority for every site owner, because every lost visitor is a lost opportunity.
You need to understand what drives people to leave your website, and that‘It’s much easier to understand when you measure bounce rate in the context of a particular traffic source. For example, when people arrive at your website after clicking on a banner ad, they expect to find a solution to a specific problem. If they can’t find the solution, they leave. Knowing how many visitors have bounced can help you adjust your ad text or reconsider where you want to show it by changing your ad partners.
6. Exit Pages
Exit pages are the pages where people leave your website. This concept may sound similar to bounce rate, but they are two different things. Unlike the bounce rate, users visit several pages before the exit page. For example, the confirmation pages you see on an e-commerce website when you submit an order naturally have a high exit rate because they act as an end of the funnel.
However, having a high exit rate on other pages can be a strong indicator that something is wrong with that part of your website. For example, if people abandon the page with shipping methods during checkout, it can be a clear indication that the shipping price is too high for them or they don’t have‘t find an appropriate shipping method to their destination. Your next step should be to introduce a change (for example, adding a new shipping method) and measure whether that change has had a positive impact on user behavior. If fewer visitors fall at this stage, then you‘have solved the problem.
7. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who reached a specific goal on your website. Depending on the nature of your website, the objective may be to complete a purchase (for an e-commerce website), to fill out a contact form (for a business website) or any other action directly related to your business goal.
The conversion rate can tell you how successful your website is from a business perspective. A low conversion rate with a high number of unique visitors probably means you’re attracting the wrong audience. Likewise, a sudden drop in conversion rate could indicate that something isn’t working properly in your conversion funnel (for example, a new sales proposition recently posted on your website isn’t working properly).‘t work for your potential customers).
“Measure twice, cut once”
Metrics can help you understand what users are doing on your website. All of the metrics covered in this article are actionable — they’ll help you build a solid picture of your target audience and use that information to provide better design decisions. When selecting other measurements, always ask yourself, “How will I use this data to make changes?” This simple question will help you avoid data collection situations that you can’t feed into actionable design decisions.