The number one rule of a digital marketing strategy is to first have a website, and second to measure the activity on your website. As websites serve as the center hub of your digital marketing strategy it’s important to understand what people are looking for on your website and how they are engaging with your website.
What Website Metrics to Track
The main goal of website measurement is to understand the people that are coming to your website and if people are engaging with your website content. Right now there are many assumptions, notice the “if” in the previous sentence, this is because your data will be your confirmation to what’s actually happening or not happening on your website.
Website metrics can be overwhelming in the beginning, so let’s start with the basic website metrics you need to be aware of. Below I categorize metrics utilizing Google Analytics’ specific terms to make it easier for you to make the connection and take action on your own.
If you’re not already registered with Google Analytics, it’s a free website analytics service offered by Google and you should join…immediately.
Get to know your audience by learning the size of your audience, how often they visit, where they are located, and how much content they consume during their stay. Website traffic can be measured through Users, Sessions and Pageviews.
Users is the number of people that have visited your website.
Sessions group interactions a user does on your website, such as browse pages, download literature, purchase products, etc which equals one visit. A session resets after 30 minutes of inactivity, meaning someone takes a lunch break and leaves your website open on their computer. Once they return from lunch and jump back on your website, that’s counted as an additional session in metrics reporting.
Pageviews are the number of pages that have been viewed on your website and it should always be more than the number of sessions on your website.
Example: I went to your website today, and I read your About page and your Contact Us page. Your metrics will look like this: Users – 1, Sessions – 1, Pageviews – 2.
Pro Tip: Create a month-over-month comparison chart to look for traffic patterns and once you locate why a spike or a large increase in traffic came to your site during a certain week, make an annotation so you can remember why it happened.
Geo Location is provided when a person lands on your website as you’re able to view the Country, State, and City a person is visiting from. If you’re a business that travels on the road selling pet supplies, it would be beneficial for you to understand if people in the cities you’re visiting are finding you online before or after your meeting with them.
The next question to be answered is, how do my visitors find my website? Do they search or do they know my website address and come directly? This can be answered by viewing Channels, and Referrals.
Channels will define the path the person used to find and ultimately visit your website. These categories include organic search (search engines like Google and Bing), direct, social, and any referring websites.
Referrals are websites that send people your way, like Yelp for small business owners or news outlets for bigger companies.
Where your traffic is coming from tells you a lot about what search engines know (or don’t know) about your website, how well other relevant sites know about your great content, and ultimately the performance of your paid advertising campaigns.
Pro Tip: Analyze your website like Googles does. Google offers Fetch As Google, a tool that will help you better understand your SEO so that you can increase the chances of being found when a customer searches for your website.
Top Viewed Pages
The top viewed pages on your website tell you what your visitors find most valuable and engaging. This is key to long-term success as you should be doing more of what you see on these top pages and it’s a good place to add relevant promotional items to boost awareness. For example, create a promotional banner about your next event and add a hyperlink to the event page that has more information.
Create a Website Performance Snapshot
A high-level snapshot of your website performance will give a quick view into how your site is doing. There is always room for course correction, and if your website is not performing well, the sooner you know about it and correct it, the better. Same goes for great performance. If your website is a strong performer, perhaps it’s due to the Facebook advertising campaign your small business has been running and now you know to keep putting dollars into social advertising to boost the awareness of your business in the community. You know the return on your investment because it has been confirmed by your website analytics performance.
Google Analytics is a great place to start your metrics tracking and there is a new feature called custom dashboards in Analytics 5 that will enable you to see a snapshot of your website performance. The custom dashboard can include all of the metrics defined above, plus any extras you want to track, its completely flexible to serve your needs. You’re even able to choose how the information is displayed (bar charts, pie charts, tables, etc).
Pro Tip: Schedule an email notification from your Google Analytics dashboard that sends you a report on a biweekly basis. See how to schedule a report from the experts at Google.