After a website launches, free analytics tools can provide valuable data to the owner to give an indication of early performance and influence helpful business decisions. Setting benchmarks around traffic sources, number of visits, target conversions and other metrics can help fledgling businesses begin to grow, taking data-led actions on the way in order to succeed.
This post will look at 5 key metrics that provide useful insight into how a new website is performing.
Google analytics is the most famous tool to use for website traffic analysis and its implementation is in two parts; generation of the tracking code and placement of it on your website.
If you use a platform to build and host your website such as WordPress or Squarespace, their online implementation instructions are very good and by following them, you should be able to implement Google Analytics tracking on your website yourself.
Should the website be bespoke however or the owner uncomfortable with code, it is worth hiring a developer to do this. Ask the developer who built the website if they can set up Google Analytics tracking or if this is not possible, platforms such as Upwork and People Per Hour have developers for hire that can service ad hoc requests such as these.
Metric 1: Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of single-engagement sessions. This means visitors land on and view one page of your website then leave – they do not click through to any other pages – for example a contact page.
A significant bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing. For websites such as blogs which are primarily designed for users to read one post, a high bounce rate is acceptable. For eCommerce sites where owners wish users to make a purchase, the intended bounce rate should be lower.
A bounce rate of 55% – 65% is broadly acceptable to aim for with most websites.
A bounce rate of 80% – 90% is considered high and could indicate that users are not engaging with the website. Design and content changes may be needed to improve upon this if it occurs.
Metric 2: Time on Site
Site owners should have read all content on their website prior to going live. Long form content like whitepapers will take longer to read than shorter form image-heavy content or infographics. Consider this when formulating a target average session duration for your users.
An average time on site of 2 – 3 minutes is broadly deemed as acceptable for most.
Metric 3: Traffic Sources
Typically, a website can generate its traffic from paid sources (such as Google Advertising), organic sources (such as Google non-paid listings on search results), referral sources (via links placed on third party websites), email sources (via Mailchimp or other mailing campaign providers), direct sources (people typing in the website URL direct into the browser) or social media (Twitter or Facebook traffic).
The proportions of these will vary according to your marketing strategy. To give an example, a strategy directed at generating paid conversions via Google Adwords will have a higher proportion of paid traffic than social media traffic.
For a marketing strategy that aims to utilise all traffic sources to generate online traction, healthy traffic proportions to target might be:
- Direct traffic: 35%
- Organic traffic: 30%
- Paid traffic: 18%
- Referral traffic: 8%
- Social traffic: 6%
- Email traffic: 3%
Metric 4: Conversion Rate
Conversions don’t always have to equal a sale. There can be a range of softer conversions that need to take place before a harder conversion (defined as an enquiry or payment) occurs.
For example, visits to a pricing page can count as a first conversion point, subsequent visits to a page with an enquiry form can count as a second conversion point, followed by a form submission as the third and final conversion point. By tracking things in this way using Google Analytics goals (there are numerous online sources explaining how to set these up), site owners can spot points during their conversion pathways where they might be losing potential enquiries or sales.
Target conversions can also drive target traffic numbers. For new sites, a conversion rate of 1% and a target conversion number of 1 means that 100 visits need to be generated to the website to achieve the target.
It is also worth considering the number of touchpoints and visits you expect customers to take in order to convert; users rarely convert in 1 visit.
A conversion rate of between 1 – 3% can be a good starting point for most websites.
Metric 5: Demographics
If you find that conversion rate is low or bounce rate is high, answers as to why can be derived from digging through Google Analytics’ demographics features.
If your business is UK-based but much of your traffic comes from New Zealand and does not convert, exclude this using Google Analytics Filters to only count quality traffic coming in to your website. Similarly, device segmentation may make a difference – if your website sells emergency phone repair services, you may get more conversions on a mobile device than on desktop if people are searching for your services locally and on the move. If your product is an accounting subscription that runs monthly, you may expect a higher proportion of returning traffic than if you sell one off services such as consulting.
A healthy device segmentation to aim for with most sites is:
- 55% mobile
- 50% desktop
- 5% tablet
Tracking and benchmarking can get incredibly in depth once you introduce further tools such as Google Tag Manager. However for broad preliminary marketing goals, Google Analytics and the above metrics provide a solid start for new websites.