August 9, 2016
5 KPIs for Your Website

Your website is up and running. Your analytics are hooked in. You deliver fresh content on a regular basis. So now what? It's time to put those analytics to work and make sure your website offers the best experience possible for your audiences.

There are dozens of metrics you can track and report on that give you clues as to how your site is performing. But what metrics give you the most information? What metrics help you understand if you are delivering the right experiences? That is, the experiences that convert your visitors into customers. Here are 5 KPIs that you should track: 

Cohort Reports

Cohorts are groupings of visitors based on a common element or behavior. For example, you might group together visitors who come to your site from a Google search, all visitors who looked at your product web page on the day a product update was announced, or all visitors who added a particular item to their wish list.

Grouping visitors together enables you to identify patterns in website usage. Why is this important? We design our websites with particular personas (or audiences) in mind, so we need to be sure the experience we deliver is working for those personas. Cohort analysis can provide those insights. 

Cohort reports offer guidance on where to dig deeper. For example:

  1. You create a Cohort report for all visitors who added a specific book to their wish list. Now you want to know, how many of those visitors have bought from you before? How many made a purchase in the last week, or month?
  2. You've been advertising the release of a new product. How many visitors came to your website the day of the official release? How many looked at that product specifically? How many downloaded resource information or signed up to your newsletter from that product page?

Cohort reports provide insights into how your content is used. They can also give you rich feedback on how your products are perceived. If 80% came to your site on the day a product was announced, yet only 5% downloaded the product brochure, maybe your web content isn't offering enough information, or your ad copy doesn't match up well with your website content.

Click Events and Goals for Key Transactions:

Do you provide resources such as whitepapers, ebooks, catalogs or other content? Do you have a newsletter sign up form on your website? Click events and goals give you an idea of if your content is interesting to the visitor.

Let's say you spent $5,000 on an ebook, yet only 200 people have gone to the ebook's landing page and of those, only 50 have downloaded it? What does this tell you? How good is the content that drives people to the landing page? How well does the landing page address the visitor's needs or challenges driving them to download the ebook? Click events can help you understand if your content is flat and boring. Or maybe the content is too focused on your company and products and not the user. Perhaps you are addressing the wrong audience altogether.

Unique Website Visitors

Unique website visitors are first time visitors to your site for a predefined period. They may have been to the site before, or they may have visited more than once during the period you define, but they are only counted once.

Why is this number important? It helps you gauge traffic over time. You can see where there are spikes - such as for a new product release - or lags, such as over the summer when everyone is on vacation. Knowing when visitors frequent your site and what content they are looking at, helps you create a stronger editorial calendar. 

Search Queries

A good search engine helps visitors find the information they need quickly. It's probably one of the most important elements of your web experience. You can use your search to understand what content or products visitors are looking for.

Search queries tell you many things:

  • What content they want the most
  • What content you may be lacking
  • What products they are most interested in
  • How good your navigation and site IA are structured

Goal Conversions by Channel 

Visiting your website via desktop is just one way your visitors reach you. They also visit using mobile devices, tablets. Along with devices, visitors come from a Google search, an email newsletter, a social post and so on. It's important to know what channels your visitors are coming from and what channels are resulting in conversions. This information helps you build the right content and experiences for different channels.

For example, most of the visitors who come to your website via mobile never download your newest whitepaper, but they do read your blog. With this knowledge, you can create a better mobile experience by delivering content in formats your mobile visitors like. So, instead of a download link for a whitepaper, you provide a blog post series that provides a sign up to your newsletter or for notification of new blogs.

Goal conversion by channel help you understand the path a visitor took to convert (download a paper, sign up for a newsletter). It's critical to know what channels drive what conversions best and focus your content on achieving those conversions.

Attribution is also important to understand. A single coversion can use many channels. Knowing how how each channel is used in the path to conversion enables you to create a smooth, seamless experience.

And Much More

These are five key metrics to track to know how your website and content are performing. But many other metrics give you the insights you need. Some of these include:

  • Most popular pages/least popular pages
  • Entry points – what is the first page they hit?
  • Exit points – what pages are they exiting on the most?
  • Bounce rate (how many people come to your site and then leave after one webpage?
  • Newsletter conversions
  • Top resources downloaded, top blog posts read

The list goes on. Whatever you measure, make sure you are getting a better view of what content is working the way you expect, what content is missing and how you need to adapt your web experience and your content to ensure your visitors are finding the information they require.

Posted by Dave Hillis
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