Because we’re a publishing business, we keep a close eye on all our audience metrics. In addition to communicating directly with our audience, it’s a great way to make sure that we’re providing the information that our audience wants.
As an ethical business, the same goes for you. Keeping track of specific website metrics through a platform like Google Analytics is a great way to get insight into how your target market is interacting with your product or service, and if you’re communicating your value effectively.
Here, we’ve picked out the top 5 metrics that you should be tracking on your website, why you should track them, and an idea of benchmark statistics to guide your website performance.
1. Number of users
Let’s start with the basics first. At the very least, it’s important to have an understanding of how many people are viewing your website. If the number of users (people) accessing your website is low, then you may need to review your marketing strategy to focus on driving users to your website to find out more information about your products and services, or to buy from you.
You can attract more users to your website using organic or paid methods, or a combination of the two. Organic traffic refers to users that come to your website via search engines or non-paid social media.
To improve your organic web traffic, review your website content to make sure that it ranks on search engines. This might mean:
- editing your website copy to make sure that it reflects popular search terms for your area of expertise
- reviewing the technical aspects of your website to make sure that it follows best practice and isn’t being penalised by search engines and ranking lower than it should
- Increase the number of website backlinks – these are links to your website from other websites. The more reputable and established the website that links to yours, the bigger boost it will give your search engine ranking.
These SEO techniques can involve a steep learning curve if you’re new to digital marketing, and they can take time to work (most SEO professionals say that it takes about three months for SEO improvements to kick in). Some businesses find that it’s useful to employ an SEO expert to help, or leverage established, trusted websites in their space to promote their business.
To improve your organic social traffic:
- ensure that you have a clear call to action and link to your website in your social media profile
- include an eye-catching and easy to recognise profile image
- review the content that you’re posting and its engagement – analyse what works and what doesn’t (for example, content type, or time of the post). Do more of what works.
Paid methods to increase the number of users accessing your website include Google and social media advertising, advertising or sponsored content posts with media brands relevant to your field, or implementing a long-term brand awareness campaign across multiple platforms.
2. Pageviews, sessions and pages per session
Pageviews and sessions are interesting to measure in relation to the number of users that access your website.
Pageviews refer to the number of pages a user views while on your website, while sessions refer to the number of times a user returns to your website. For example, one person (user) may view many of your web pages (pageviews) across multiple sessions (visits). The pages per session metric lets you know how many web pages a user views in one visit.
Ideally, you’d like users to return to your website (whether they made a purchase the first time they visited or not), and you’d like them to view as many pages on your website as possible. High pageviews and sessions is a good indication of the quality of the products you sell, the service you provide, and how effectively you’re communicating it on your website.
Low pageviews can be an indicator that your website isn’t providing the right information for the users that land on your website. You may also need to improve the way that you link to your own web pages on your website. For example, if you’re an ecommerce website, make sure that you include ‘related products’ on each product page, or a ‘you might also like’ section to help users find what they’re looking for.
The more pages a user views in one session, the more engaged they are with your website. This usually means that they’re more likely to buy from you. Google Analytics lets you dig deeper on this metric and find out the ‘behaviour flow’ or pages that users viewed in sequence before leaving your website. This can be helpful to determine how best to direct a user to a sale.
3. Average time on page and average session duration
Average time on page refers to the average amount of time users spend viewing a specific page of your website. Average session duration refers to the average length of each users’ visit. The length of time recorded for these metrics is a good indicator of how engaging your content is, and if it’s providing the information that the user is looking for.
If you feel that your average time on page and average session duration metrics are low, you could consider creating more compelling content, embedding multimedia or improving the navigation or design of your website.
4. Bounce rate
Your website bounce rate is a really important metric to track. Bounce rate shows the percentage of users who visit one page of your website then leave quickly, without interacting with it or visiting any of your other webpages. A very high or very low bounce rate can point to big issues with your website.
A high bounce rate (over 60 per cent) demonstrates that your website isn’t providing users with what they want. For example, a user who enters a search term into Google may come to your website and find that it doesn’t give them the answer they’re looking for – or the answer isn’t communicated quickly and effectively – so they quickly leave. The time it takes to load your website can also impact your bounce rate.
Not only does a high bounce rate mean you’re losing potential customers, it has an impact on your website’s search ranking, so it’s important that a high bounce rate is fixed. Google Analytics lets you view which pages on your website have the highest bounce rate, which can help you to identify the problem. Once you know which pages to update you can review and improve your existing content, or refine the search keywords that you’re trying to rank for to make sure that they’re targeting the right people.
A very low bounce rate (less than 10 per cent) can be an indicator that something is technically wrong with your website, or that your analytics tracking hasn’t been set up correctly.
We keep a close eye on Pip’s bounce rate to make sure our website is running smoothly. It sits around the 35 per cent mark.
5. Acquisition or traffic source
Tracking how users are finding your website is a great way to refine your marketing strategy and gauge where best to direct your efforts. Traffic sources can include:
- organic search – search engine results
- paid search – ads in search results, such as Google Ads
- organic social media
- paid social media
- email – links from your own emarketing campaigns
- direct – your URL has been entered into the browser bar, or the user has your website saved as a bookmark
- referral – links to your website from another website.
Traffic source metrics can tell you how many users visited your website from a particular source as well as how all the users from a particular traffic source behaved. For example, the average length of time users that visited your site from Instagram spent on your website, or the number of pages they viewed. If you have conversion tracking set up in your analytics platform, you’ll also be able to track which traffic source drives the most online revenue.
This level of insight is really useful. It can give you an idea of which traffic source you should put the most effort into, or where you need to improve.
At Pip, we use this insight to tell us which traffic source is the most engaged. Not surprisingly, our enewsletter subscribers are the most traffic source, viewing multiple web pages during each session and staying on the Pip website for the longest period of time. Our second most engaged traffic source comes from organic search, which accounts for 50 per cent of all users that access our website. This lets us know that our SEO strategies are working – we’re providing the right information based on the search terms that users enter to find our website.
Bonus tip: use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that lets you review how your website ranks in Google. It houses data on your website including reports on website errors that may harm your Google ranking, technical suggestions that can improve your ranking, and the visibility of your website for search terms.
This is particularly useful because it demonstrates the number of times your website appeared in search results for a particular search term vs the number of clicks your website received. This can be incredibly helpful in determining which search terms or keywords you should put most effort into for your website.
Once set up, elements of Google Search Console can be integrated with your Google Analytics.
Pip supports environmentally friendly, ethical brands by providing opportunities to connect with its eco-conscious community across its entire media ecosystem.
We have opportunities across all of our media platforms, including in our print magazine, website, social media and e-newsletters, reaching over 50,000 Australians.
Find out how you can engage with an audience who are looking to live more lightly on the earth by making better choices about the products they buy and the businesses they support. View our media kit, or contact Publisher Robyn Rosenfeldt.