Learn the 10 important KPIs for websites and find out how you can easily use the Google Analytics tool to monitor them. A few useful tips are also included to help you assess the performance of your web presence.
To measure the success of a website, it is necessary to do more than simply monitor your sales. KPIs (key performance indicators), are also important when assessing the success of websites. It would be impossible to determine the success of a website without using measurable parameters.
There is no one, correct answer regarding which parameters should be considered in detail. The KPIs that you should monitor on your website are solely dependent on the goal of the website. Before starting the web analysis, you must clearly define your objectives – what you want to achieve with your website. There are two types of objectives: macro objectives and micro objectives.
It is easier to derive the right KPIs for your website if your goals are clearly defined. Many such KPIs can be monitored using the free Google Analytics tool . To do this, you only need to login to Google Analytics, integrate a code snippet on your page, and begin analyzing your page.
Below, we provide a list of the 10 most important pre-defined KPIs to track on your website, as well as an explanation on how to use the analytics tool to monitor these parameters. The KPIs are grouped into the different categories of Google Analytics: audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversion.
In the “audience” category, you will find all reports related to visitors on your page. You can view details on the demographics, interests, and behavior of visitors on your page as well as information on the technologies they use.
This figure shows you how loyal visitors of your website are. You can determine the number of regular visitors, your website’s popularity and the overall satisfaction of your visitors.
Tip: Popular and user-friendly pages exhibit more views and returning visitors.
The evaluation of the number of visits can be found in the “Audience” category under “Behavior” and “Frequency and Recency”.
From the table shown here, you can determine how many visitors your page had, how many users returned to your page, and how many pages they visited on their way.
With the help of Cookies, Google Analytics assesses if a visitor had already viewed your page or if he/she is a new visitor.
This might, however, result in inaccuracies since cookies can sometimes be deleted by users or users might have already viewed pages using a different computer. The exact figures are, however, not that important in this case. The trend is what matters most. If you have a large number of returning visitors, it can be concluded that your website is interesting for the visitors and provides them with good content. If quite a large number of new visitors visit your site, this could mean that your branding campaign is doing quite well. Derive a relationship between the ratio of new/returning visitors and your marketing measures and review the contents of your page.
Tip: You can select additional parameters for comparison purposes in order to assess the channels that are more popular with visitors and, hence, improve on these.
From this figure, you can determine the sources through which returning visitors access your site.
Below “Audience”, “Behavior”, and “Engagement”, you can see how long visitors stayed on your website.
Different groups are formed here. The first group can, for instance, be visitors who stayed on your website for up to 10 seconds. Please note that this also includes users who immediately left the page, probably because they had very different expectations of your website.
Tip: You can filter out users who immediately left your page by selecting the “non-bounce sessions” segment.
Long session durations show that your website is really interesting for visitors. However, if almost all the visitors do not stay on your page for very long, you should check if they can actually find what they are looking for.
The bounce rate is a very important measure for all website operators. This KPI shows what percentage of visitors only view a single page or leave the page immediately.
The bounce rate not only shows you that visitors quickly leave your page, it is also a factor that works against your website in the search engine indexing: If you have many visitors who immediately leave your page, this most likely means that they did not find what they expected to. This can also have a negative effect on your website’s evaluation on search engines and, thus, have a negative impact on its ranking in search results.
Tip: A high bounce rate can be due to various reasons.
Thus, a high number of visitors that only view a single page does not always have to be negative. This is why a high bounce rate should always be a reason for you to conduct a more in-depth analysis of your website.
The “acquisition” area in Google Analytics deals with the traffic sources of your website.
Under “Acquisition” and “Overview”, you can view the number of visitors who come to your site through organic search results.
Thus, this makes it possible to determine the proportion of all users who come to your website through organic search results.
Under “Search Engine Optimization” and “Queries”, you can view the keywords that led users to your page.
Tip: You can quickly identify trends if you monitor your keywords over a longer period. Does this keyword generate more traffic with time or is it becoming less important?
In the “Acquisition” category under “Campaigns”, the performance of other marketing campaigns can be monitored in addition to the AdWords campaigns.
For example, you can monitor your newsletter campaigns by adding the corresponding parameters to the URLs in the newsletter. These are then identified by Google Analytics.
Tip: Google Analytics first assigns the conversions to the last campaign contacted by the user.
The “Behavior” reports provide details about the use of your subpages as well as how users interact with the content on your page.
The average page load time is found in the overview under “Behavior” and “Site Speed”.
Tip: Long loading times are unfavorable for both the visitors and search engines. If visitors have to wait for too long for a page to load, they mostly just leave the page and probably go to a competitor’s website. Search engines also consider the loading time of your page in the ranking.
You should, therefore, always ensure that the loading times are as short as possible. This is due to the fact that long loading times also quickly have a negative impact on other parameters such as the bounce rate.
Another important parameter is the average time a visitor stays on the page. This can be viewed under “Behavior”.
Here, you can monitor how long a visitor stays on the page and, therefore, assess whether the users found the information they need on the respective subpages.
Tip: First analyze your most important subpages based on the visit durations. To do this, simply click on the respective URL under “Site Content” and “All Pages” to view the pages for these subpages.
You can directly monitor sales figures in Google Analytics. For AdSense campaigns specifically, you can view these under “Behavior” and “AdSense”.
Tip: In order to use this function, your AdSense account must be linked with your Analytics account. You can do this under “Manage”, “Account”, and “AdSense Linking”
The “Conversions” segment analyzes your defined objectives and whether they have been achieved.
Under “Conversions”, you can view the conversion rate for your defined objectives and determine how many transactions took place within a certain period.
Each of these examples can represent a conversion. This is because a conversion refers to the achievement of a specific goal.
Tip: You must first define the goals of your website in Google Analytics. To do this, click on “Manage”, go to “Overview” then click on “Goals” and select “Set up Goals”.
You now know how Google Analytics can help assessing the performance of your website. But be careful! Never rely on a single parameter only. Just because the sales of your online shop are increasing does not necessarily mean that you are making more profit. Maybe the number of returns has also gone up? Perhaps even more than the sales? This would mean that your profit went down and you missed it by simply considering a single parameter.
As explained in the beginning, you should appropriately define the macro and micro objectives of your website and consider the parameters that should be regularly monitored for you to maintain a good overview.
Practice makes perfect!
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Published on 04/12/2016 by Irina Hey.
Irina Hey is a keynote speaker and an expert in the field of customer acquisition, lead generation and data driven marketing. Until April 2018 she worked as a Product Owner of Acquisitions and coordinated all strategic marketing activities at Ryte.Become a guest author »
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