Traditionally Google PageRank and sheer traffic have been the measure of website success. However, these older metrics are becoming less meaningful in the current web environment.
Business people are now demanding more than just traffic and rankings, marketing professionals have gotten more web-savvy and are using analytics tools supplied for free by Google to understand their websites and its strengths and weaknesses. Here are 7 website success metrics to consider in addition to Google PageRank and traffic:
1. Leads. Websites are often set up to be “corporate brochures” not just to sell products. If your website is a brochure you do want to educate and you do want consumers to contact you based upon what they may have learned at your website. For this reason it is important to measure leads. A SEO campaign that brought 100 leads is better than one which brought a million page views but no new potential clients.
2. Conversions. Perhaps you do not sell anything directly on your website, but you want people to join, participate in a survey, recommend your site or simply subscribe to your email newsletter? It is important to measure this subscriber because you have the opportunity to convert this person from a suspect to a prospect and from a prospect to a buyer and from buyer to evangelist.
3. Subscribers. Your subscribers are the most important users of your website, even if they do not buy anything. Subscribers are often referred to as conversions. To ensure that you keep them in the fold consider the addition of an RSS feed so you can track and continue to educate and convert.
4. Returning visitors. This is obvious, only returning visitors really like your site. So the more they come back the better, the more successful you are. One time search visitors and casual social media visitors are not the backbone of your site. The subscribers and returning visitors (often the same people) are.
5. Pageviews per visit. Pageviews per visit often will tell you a whole lot about how much your visitors like your website. A 1 to 1 ratio is bad unless they all click the buy button instantly.
6. Time on page and time on site. The time spent on a page and on your site can tell you whether people just skim your content or read your whole editorial. It’s not always the longer the better but 5 minutes is in most cases better than 30 seconds, especially for a publishing site or simply a blog.
7. Bounce rate. The bounce rate is one of the most important usability metrics and thanks to Google Analytics you can obtain this information. 100k visitors from Digg with a bounce rate of 95% means that in fact only 5.000 actually visited your site. So a site with a much lower visitor number and bounce rate can be much more successful than a site with huge traffic numbers. Targeted quality traffic is key for a successful site.
In summary, there are numerous ways to assess the success of your website. These 7 tips are a few ways to judge the impact and success of what you are sharing on your website with your customers. Sign up for Google Analytics (it’s free) and take the tour of how to use the tools. It will help you and your marketing team assess your communication program’s success and help you plan for future website strategies.
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