Whether you're a new startup or a growing business with a small or large website, website performance tracking is essential to ensuring happy customers.
Unfortunately, as websites small and large grow, implementing strategies to monitor website performance can often be challenging at the best of times, not knowing what metrics to look for, and how they'll affect your KPI's (Key Performance Indicators)
I've struggled with maintaining website performance, and as a result, have decided to put together some tips that you can take a look at to implement as part of these strategies.
That's right, I'm going to dive into the strategies for tracking website performance right now!
When trying to understand how your website is performing, both technically and via the level of engagement from customers using the site, you need to understand that there are several performance measures to look at.
These performance measures are going to have slight variations from business to business, so try and adapt each of them to suit yours.
Amongst some of the most popular website performance measures, one category is going to be the engagement and behaviour of your customers.
What is this measuring exactly?
Put simply, here, you're measuring how effective your website is at attracting visitors, and then converting them into paying customers, whether this be through selling products or through a subscription like a membership page.
It doesn't matter how great your website might look and feel, attracting customers is one thing, but actually keeping them is a completely different story.
If we take the example of a subscription based business model such as some membership area of your website, what if you were only able to keep most of your customers for a month or two...
It's simply not long enough.
And if we reverse engineer this a little, how did you turn them into paying customers? Was it through an engaging blog article with images, fancy visuals and videos?
Or was it through an obvious sales page.
When we're talking about engagement, and behaviour for website performance tracking, this particular area comes under the bounce rate of your website.
When somebody lands on your website, your website visitor is going to browse some of your pages, or they're going to leave straight away without moving to other pages or clicking through to whatever product or service it is that you're offering.
This metric is called the Bounce Rate, and it's measured as a percentage in tools such as Google Analytics.
It's one of the metrics that you actually can control, unlike some others.
If your bounce rate was quite high, such as 70% - 100%, it would mean that the majority of people landing on your site simply aren't staying. They're leaving and going elsewhere.
As a startup, you probably want to be aiming for a bounce rate of around 60% if you're delivering a good product or service, or providing extremely valuable content.
Any less than this, such as 40% or 50% would indicate that your visitors are staying, checking out other pages and taking on board everything you've got to offer.
Which moves us nicely onto the next point, which is the average session duration, or average time on page.
Even if you're getting a lot of website impressions and clicks through to your site, and even if your bounce rate is nice and low, what's the point if people aren't actually reading your content right?
One of the indicators that Google looks for when it comes to moving a website's ranking position is how long someone has been on a page for.
If it's too low, your website visitors are likely turned off by whatever the page has to offer, and as a result, Google could demote your page accordingly.
Google likes relevance. Relevant, meaningful and helpful content that is visually shown to the user in an appealing way.
In fact, it's one of the things you can do to increase website traffic as we've mentioned in one of our other blog posts.
Another metric that's super important as part of website performance tracking, especially for startups is the conversion rate.
This is a number that depending on what you count as a conversion is can be monitored as part of a strategy and improved.
Most startups and websites fail to use the correct conversion metrics and will use a conversion metric for their business that simply isn't valuable.
Is this you?
If you're a business, and you're trying to grow your website, then surely profit would be more important than any other metric right?
So what components, pages and content on your website add up to bring in profit.
Let's have a look at some of the specific centered metrics:
Whilst blog performance isn't likely going to be a direct conversion metric for your business, or at least... you might not think it is.
On the internet today, everywhere you look, there is content, blogs and news articles. All of this content fuels the web, and is what is turning simple website traffic into paying customers.
For many businesses online today, startups included, project managers often get bogged down by the wrong conversion metric.
Let's say for example that you've got an email list and 5,000 unique visitors land on your blog post. Let's say just 100 of them entered your email list, then your conversion rate would be 2%.
But if your website sells products as well as having an email list, and you get 500 unique visitors and 100 of them are turned into leads, then your conversion rate is now 20%, which is much better.
Just because you've got a large amount of website visitors coming to your website, don't assume that traffic is king.
Instead, focus on creating a quality user experience and creating content that targets a specific audience - this is truly how you're going to get an accurate conversion rate that means something.
The last umbrella metric here that we're going to cover as part of the three key website performance measures is the UI (User Experience) metrics.
What am I talking about here?
Well, we're talking about a few specific areas:
The user experience for your user, at the end of the day is the most important metric that sits alongside profit.
If you haven't created a really good user experience for your users, then they're going to leave.
And alongside the other metrics we've covered, if your user experience isn't up to standard, Google simply won't put your site amongst the big players in your industry.
If all of the websites on page one of Google and your competitors sites have better user experiences than yours, they're going to be taking all of your potential website traffic away from you.
So here's a few areas to look at...
Most of us internet users nowadays have a smartphone capable of accessing the internet and accessing many websites.
So it's no surprise that the computer has been scaled down to a device that we carry everywhere, and most of the people on the internet these days access a website from their mobile device.
So if your website doesn't look great on a mobile, your visitors won't be able to use the site.
Like mobile design, page load speed is essential to website performance tracking as it's going to dictate how many people arrive on your site or leave straight away.
Nobody likes a slow, under performing website, luckily the Page Speed insights tool can give you an insight into your website's performance and will give you a speed score to help you optimise your website.
When somebody lands on your website, and stays, they're going to navigate between the pages on your site.
This is often referred to as the behaviour flow, and you'll be able to find out, and pinpoint exactly where your website visitors are going and what the journey across your site looks like.
This way, as part of the user experience, you could insert lead magnets or exit modals to help capture these visitors.
In order to track website performance you're going to need a tool capable of capturing and analysing the data.
You could utilise a paid service to do this for you, but I recommend as a startup for you to use the very tools provided by the organisation that's ranking your website...
Yes, we're talking about the Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster Tools) and Google Analytics.
These tools will help you identify what your bounce rate is, allow you to find out what search queries your website visitors are searching for, and also precisely set up conversion goals.
Here at the domain monitor, we've got both of these tools set up and honestly, it's all you're ever going to need.
When it comes to trying to implement a website performance tracking strategy, you're going to need to firstly figure out exactly what performance measures are important to your website, and what ones are going to be white noise.
Next, ensure that your website has got sufficient content, and funnels set up to help attract website visitors and turn them into paying customers.
Finally, you need to keep your paying customers happy by providing excellent customer service and a carefully thought out mobile website design.
After you've got all of this set up, you'll be able to better keep track of your website performance and make more robust decisions moving forward.
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