Six KPIs to keep track of your website performance
For any small business, a website is a necessary component to getting the word to the world about what you do and why you're here. It’s often your most important public storefront and is the key to getting people interested in purchasing your products and services. But once you have a website, do you know how to measure its effectiveness? Many small business owners build or revamp their website and then don’t know how to understand how it’s performing, and more importantly, where they might need to make improvements that will increase the effectiveness of your website and its benefit to the business overall.
Measuring the effectiveness of a website is easy if you hone in on a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and check in on them regularly. KPIs are metrics that you can use to understand how successful your website is in a specific given area, such as visitors and traffic, engagement, conversion, technical performance, and more. Most small businesses pick anywhere from 5-8 KPIs to pay close attention to. Any less than this and you are not able to see a complete picture of your website and its overall performance (and more importantly, what can be improved) and any more and the scope often becomes too large to see what meaningful changes could be made.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or type of business you have - website KPIs are important and should be paid close attention to. Below is a list of six KPIs that any small business can use. Regardless of industry, products/services, size, or location, the KPIs below should be monitored to make sure there is a baseline understanding of website performance and where they might be able to make changes to improve a few major areas.
Most of these metrics below are measured in Google Analytics (GA) and are out of the box pieces of information for any website that’s set up on GA. If you are not set up on Google Analytics, head on over to the Google Analytics For Beginners course so you can learn how to set it up, how to access and understand data, and start using the KPIs below to benefit your business!
KPI #1: Overall Traffic and New Users
Overall web traffic and new users are “Traffic Metrics”. Both of these metrics measure how many people are coming to your website in a given time. Overall Web Traffic shows you the total number of visitors that are coming to your site in a given time frame and New Users show you how many people are coming to your website for the very first time in those same time frames.
These metrics show you how much action your website is getting and how your overall visitor and new user counts are trending over time. Comparing overall web traffic to new user counts also show you how many people are coming to your website multiple times and how many users are first-time visitors. If your overall traffic and new user counts are going up, great! If they are headed in a downward trend, why might that be the case? It could be a great indicator that you need to make sure your pages are all up and accessible, people can find your website when searching, or you might need to promote your business more via online mediums.
KPI #2: Average Time on Page
Average time on page is an “Engagement Metric”. Engagement metrics measure how successful your website is once someone has already become a visitor. If you are able to attract people to your website, you have only completed half the battle. Engagement metrics help you understand if the information on your website is enough for visitors to stay and become more interested in what you have to offer.
Average time on page is a very useful metric to understand a major piece of data: How much time people spend consuming the information that is on each page. Average Time on Page can help you understand which content/information is most valuable and which pages are your highest individual performers. If the Average Time on Page is very short (think under 30 seconds), it can tell you that there’s not enough information on that page to keep people interested. Or maybe the design needs to be updated and optimized.
KPI #3: Bounce Rate
“Bounce Rate” measures how many people come to a page on your website (and this can be any page - home page, product page, landing page, blog page, etc.) and leave your website before navigating to any other pages. Think of this of walking into a retail store and before you actually look at what is in stock, you turn around and walk right back out the door.
Bounce rate can help you identify if what you have on your page(s) doesn’t match up well with what a visitor is expecting. This metric also is also related to keywords that someone might look for when using Google and other search engines. It can help indicate whether or not the information on your website matches the information they’re expecting to find because of a specific search. (Example: if your website is trying to sell marketing services and someone clicks on your website when searching for “what are marketing services?”, they might be looking for more information about what they are and not looking to purchase any from a business.)
KPI #4: Average Session Duration
In Google Analytics, it’s very easy to measure the total length of time someone stays on your website each time they visit. This metric is called “Average Session Duration” and measures overall time spent, no matter how many pages they visited or how much time they spent on each page. This metric is great to know how much time people are spending browsing your website overall. You want to keep track of your Average Session Time over different time periods to see if new content you publish, new product information you post, or more pages added to your site turns into people staying on your website longer. Just remember: if someone is on your page but is inactive for more than 30 minutes, that “session” is ended in the eyes of Google Analytics and a new one will start when the user begins to interact again.
Pro tip: If your business has an Average Session Duration of around 2 minutes, you might think that seems low but it’s actually pretty good! Across industries, Average Session Duration is usually in the 2-3 minute range, which is plenty of time for someone to learn what they need to from your website and take action. If you’re under the 2 minute mark, it’s a great opportunity to evaluate your website and the information you display.
KPI #5: Pages Per Session
While Average Session Duration measures the entire time someone spends on your website in a single visit, “Pages Per Session” is another great metric to measure how much they are looking around. Pages Per Session measures how many different pages someone visits across your website within a single session. This metric helps identify how much trust is being built between visitors and your website. If they have a high Average Session Duration and a high Pages Per Session count, that means they trust the information you’re displaying enough to visit more pages and read more content to get more information about your business. This is a great indicator that your content is sound and is spot on for what your visitors are hoping to see!
KPI #6: Page Load Time
Everyone has been in a situation where they visit a website and the first page they get to loads suuuuuuuuuuuuuper slow. And in the middle of it trying to load, you leave the page, never to return. “Page Load Time” calculates how fast a page on your website loads and is much more important than people realize. According to Neil Patel, 40% of website visitors will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. If your pages are loading slowly, you might want to look into how your page is built, if pictures are too large, if you have too many plug-ins or tracking elements running at one time, or several other areas. A great, free tool to check to quickly see how your Page Load Time measures is Solarwinds Pingdom. Simply input any page on your website, pick your region, and hit “Start Test” and you’ll see an overall rating, some great granular metrics, and what some issues for your site might be.
Just because you’re not a software engineer doesn’t mean that you can’t understand some granular elements of how your website is performing. By keeping on top of the KPIs listed above, any small business can make sure they see the success of their website and make changes if they see things trending in a downward direction. If you think it’s time to build or revamp your website to have high performance in any of the metrics in this article, reach out to the Moby team to discuss how a professional, customize website will delight all of your visitors and turn your website into a performance machine!