What are your goals? Before you can know what to measure, you need to clarify your goals. Why do you have a website? If you sell products online, this part is easy. But often, it’s a bit harder to pin down. You typically want to make a short list of revenue and engagement goals.
Examples of revenue goals:
Examples of engagement goals:
Tools you need
What to focus on1. Is the number of qualified visitors increasing?The best kind of traffic is qualified traffic. “Qualified” visitors are those who are potential customers. How can you find out if visitors are potential customers? In cases other than people coming to your site directly (because they already know about it), you can look at the traffic source.
Traffic from unpaid searches: This is traffic that results from someone doing a search and clicking on your site. Once the site has sizable search traffic, you can start monitoring and categorizing the search keywords people are using.For example, are people searching for your company name? One keyword category should be “branded” to include all variations of your company name and website. Your other categories should relate to your industry. For instance, if you sell pool accessories, you might have keyword categories for chemicals, slides, inflatable toys and FAQs. You can set these categories up with your webmaster tools and view them in reports to find out what customers are searching for online.
Traffic from referring sites: An increase of traffic from referring sites usually means that people are linking to your content because it’s valuable. The pages being linked to most often are probably also the most useful. For instance, if your blog post describing how to add a waterfall to your pool is getting traffic from 20 referral sites, while your post on how to choose a pool cover is only linked to by one site, then maybe more people are interested in waterfalls than pool covers (assuming you promoted both articles the same way).2. Do visitors find the site useful? Not everyone is looking to buy something. Some visitors might want to learn more about your company or products. If you track only sales, you may lose valuable insight about how well you are engaging potential customers.
Increased sales: Still, the most obvious and useful metric to track is revenue. You can track goals in Google Analytics (you may want to have an analytics expert set this up) to monitor events such as checkouts or clicks on buy buttons when you sell products online.When you tie this to your keyword categories and referring site information, the data become even more useful. Do 10 percent of visitors who come from links on online parenting forums purchase from your site, but only 1 percent of visitors who come from gardening forums buy something? If so, parents might be more valuable to your business.
Increased engagementUsing the keyword categories you set up, you can see what kinds of visitors are finding your site valuable. The following data can be useful:
3. What are your search performance metrics? Using your keyword categories, you can also monitor how well your site is ranking in search engines for specific searches and if people are clicking through to your site.Both Google’s and Bing’s tools track impressions (the number of times searchers saw your site in the results), clicks, click-through rates, and average positions for keywords that send traffic to your site. By looking at these metrics, you can see if your search rankings are improving, as well as if people are finding your search results compelling.
Getting started The key to monitoring activity on your website is to not get overwhelmed by data. Make sure you have an analytics package installed on your site and are registered for the search engine tools. Be clear on the goals of the site — and then start with basic questions: What’s my overall traffic? What sites are linking to me most often?Soon, you’ll have great insight into how your website investments are paying off.