What do I mean when I ask which is better – website design or conversion…
How to Measure Your Website’s Success 
Everyone measures success in their lives differently, but if you have a website, knowing what you should measure and monitor can mean the difference between success and failure. There are some fundamental metrics that you should monitor and know what they mean – ignore these at your peril.
The web moves at light speed so the quicker you identify problems on your website, the quicker you can find a solution and start achieving your goals. Here are some fundamental metrics and what they mean to help you improve your website.
- Bounce rate – this is the number of people who land on your website and then leave before investigating further. This can mean that the page they land on does not engage them sufficiently or is not informative enough, for them to bother remaining on your website. It can also mean that they landed on your website by mistake – but a high bounce rate is a worry.
- Unique visitors – this is the number of individuals who visited your website at least once during the reporting period. If the visitor comes to your site multiple times during the reporting period, it is only counted once. This gives you an idea of your website’s audience size during the period under review and is more accurate than purely visits or page views as one visitor may come multiple times and view lots of pages even though they represent one potential customer.
- Exit pages – this is the page your visitor was on when they left your site. Pages with high exit rates help identify weaknesses in your site. Users are leaving from these pages for some reason. Whether they’ve read something they don’t like or there simply wasn’t a clear next step for them to take, reviewing and updating these exit pages can help increase conversions.
- Referral websites – this metric tells you where your visitors came from, in other words, were they referred from a search engine, Facebook or government site for example. Knowing the referral pathways can help you target your marketing campaigns to these pathways (great for SEO) or even to the types of consumers who frequent the referral sites.
- Keywords – this tells you the keywords visitors’ type into search engines that lead to your website and is a great way to target a specific audience. You can also identify which keywords visitors type into the search box on your website, which helps determine your most popular content and also the content visitors are looking for and which you don’t have on your website. Keywords from search engines are increasingly becoming less available (see our previous blog post Addressing the [Not Provides] Issue}.
- Time on website – this tells you the average time visitors spend on your website. You can see which pages people are spending the most and the least time on to help you identify the content that people are most and least interested in. Addressing the content on these pages can help improve conversions.
- Conversion rate – this is the percentage of people who landed on your website and purchased your products or services, donated money or subscribed to your e-newsletter. Whatever the goal of your website – the conversion rate tells you the percentage of consumers who performed this action. Low conversion rates can indicate that the offer you provide is not compelling enough, the content may not be resonating or the visitors you’re attracting is not the right traffic.
The metrics discussed above could help you fine-tune your marketing campaigns to better achieve your goals and increase your ROI. Let’s say you have two separate product pages (pages that provide more information about products). The Time on Website for Page A is quite high while it’s a bit lower for Page B. Compare both pages and determine why one is more successful than the other. Is the copy on Page A more engaging? Are you using more images or did you break down the copy using headings? Identifying why one page is performing better and attempt to replicate its success with your other pages.
One of the most popular ways to measure your website is Google Analytics. It’s a free tool that measures all the elements we mentioned above, and it even has a comprehensive dashboard that lets you easily analyse and export data. If you’re unsure how to start using Google Analytics, Google has free courses for beginners and advanced learners.
Meg is a Project Manager/Producer at Cornerstone with a special interest in conversion rate optimisation. She has a business analysis background and thinks the web would be a better place if everyone looked at their web statistics daily.