Every website is different.
What might be considered successful results for one website may be lackluster for another. To measure your own site’s success, you must first define what success means to you and develop a clear picture of how your website is performing according to these metrics.
To start, ask yourself about the purpose of your site. Was it created to sell products? To boost fundraising efforts? To engage consumers in a particular niche? Defining the purpose of your website is essential to defining its success.
Setting Good Goals
Next, you need to set some clear goals that coincide with your website’s purpose.
Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T goals:
Specific: Who, what, where, when, and why?
Measurable: They should include numbers and figures.
Attainable: Your goal should present a challenge, but not be impossible.
Relevant: Does your website goal fit with your overall marketing and business goals?
Time-bound: Do you want to reach this goal in a week? Six months? A year?
As an example, say you’re a business owner who sells jackets online. Your organizational goal is to generate revenue through jacket sales, so one goal of your website is to get visitors to buy jackets (a specific website visitor action). Your goal might be to sell 500 jackets per month through your website (which is both measurable and constrained by a specific time frame), up from the 400 you sold last month (which is challenging, yet realistic).
Website Metrics That Matter
Though the definition of website success will vary from business to business depending on goals, everyone can measure the performance of their website using analytics software. The factors that you measure with analytics are called metrics. According to the Content Marketing Institute, all metrics fall into four categories: Consumption, Sharing, Lead Generation, and Sales. Keep an eye on these key metrics to get a good idea of your website’s performance.
Consumption refers to the content that your visitors see and consume when visiting your website. Examples of these metrics include:
Page Views: Page view metrics track how many people have seen the pages and content on your website. These are the easiest metrics to find and record.
Video Views: Video view metrics track how many people have seen your videos. You can measure these using YouTube Insights, or its equivalent if you use another video host.
Downloads: Download metrics track the number of times people download your downloadable content.
Consumption metrics are important because they help you understand how your content is viewed.
These metrics measure how many people are sharing your content across the web. Content sharing has become a common indicator of content usefulness and popularity, so these metrics are good indicators of your website’s performance. They include:
Social signals that people give by clicking social share buttons on your website. They come from sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.
Backlinks. A backlink is created whenever another website links to your site. You can measure this through Google Analytics (or any other analytics software), and through Pingbacks on your blog.
Lead Generation Metrics
Lead generation is a critical goal for businesses, especially B2Bs. The goal of providing rich content is ultimately to move website visitors down your sales funnel, transforming them from passive viewers to active and loyal followers (and customers). Examples of the metrics you should be paying attention to:
Conversion rates: The number of unique site visitors measured against the number of conversions.
Form completions and call-to-action downloads: The number of times a visitor signs up for your newsletter, downloads a special report, etc.
Blog subscribers: You can measure this via your blog account or through your email marketing provider like Constant Contact.
If you use your website to sell products and services, then this one probably matters the most to you. Tracking sales metrics usually involves analyzing data within the CRM system you have in place for your business and customers. In order to effectively track sales metrics, you must include trackable components on your website (like a call-to-action to a product landing page). You can also include call-to-actions at the end of blog posts. By doing so, you will be able to track which content on your site is actually driving visitors to purchase your products or services.