Here is the first of multiple posts on how to measure your marketing and sales activities and what any accounting, law or financial service firm should keep in mind. This week’s post is focused your websites.
Your website should be one of the easiest things to measure and benchmark, assuming you have analytics. If you don’t, install Google analytics. It’s free and can be done very easily as long as you have access to the backend of your website, typically through a CMS (or content management system).
Website metrics can become confusing. There are typically alot of numbers that are presented, but what really matters? For most professionals, they should be focused on 4 key areas. These include visits, sources of traffic, keywords and bounce rate. These metrics are widely available through any analytics system and can give you a lot of insight into the effectiveness of your website. Lets take a look at each of these metrics.
These are ideally the number of people that visit your site. Most search engines track visits by a special session id. So, theoretically, you could have multiple visits from the same computer, but they could all be different people. However, most analytics systems give a pretty thorough count of people visiting this site. Some might be wonder, isn’t that what a “hit” is? The answer is no- hits account for file requests. So one visitor could unknowingly request multiple hits simply by navigating to a page.
Sources of traffic
Is exactly what it sounds like. This tells you where your traffic is coming form. Typically, the categories include search engines, direct traffic (someone typed your url in directly to the address bar), referral traffic and campaign traffic.
This section will tell you how people are finding your website. Whether or not you choose to explore SEO (search engine optimization) shouldn’t matter. If you find you are getting lots of traffic to your site, but are being found on the wrong words, the traffic won’t really matter.
Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits. As the term describes, these visitors exited on the same page they landed on.
Interpreting the metrics
One metric alone won’t give you the whole picture, but the combination will. For most professional firms, the goal is to use their website to get in front of their target audience. That being said, here are some good goals to have for your website. Ideally, you want to strike a balance between having a mix of direct, referral and search engine traffic that is lead by the right keywords. Your bounce rate tells you that the visitor only visited the page they landed on and left. In most cases, you want your bounce rate to be low. This will indicate you are capturing the right audience and they are navigating your site. If your bounce rate is high, that usually means the visitor didn’t find something relevant to their search. Keep in mind that your home page will usually have a higher bounce rate than the rest of your pages. Ideally, you want your visits going up, but only if the other metrics mentioned above are in alignment. Otherwise, you may have a false picture of success. These suggestion would apply to a traditional website, but not necessarily a blog.
Thanks for enduring my unusually long post!