Top commercial websites serve a role comparable to attractive shop window displays. For hundreds of years shopkeepers have made eye-catching displays to persuade a passersby to stop, take a look, and hopefully come inside and buy something. The internet equivalent is a well-written and attractively designed website that acts as a magnet to online customers. Does your small business website pull in the expected number of visitors? Do a reasonable percentage of these visitors make a purchase?
An effective commercial website needs to be simple to navigate, visually appealing, and also important (and legally required) to be accessible to people with hearing and visual impairments. All the expense and effort that goes into making an incredible website is only justified when it brings results. Through regular checks on key performance statistics owners discover the extent their website meets the trading targets. Google Analytics is the best known web traffic tracking tool but is far from the only option available.
So which key performance indicators (KPIs) are the most important to take into account?
The Number of Visitors
Businesses place high emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get the website a high placing in browser searches. Although the total number of hits is significant, this figure needs to be broken down further to become really useful.
It is important to discover how visitors reach the website, for example, how many come through PPC (Pay per Click), via various social media or other channels. These results provide valuable information to assist the firm to focus advertising in areas that deliver the best results. In addition, major changes in visitor numbers should be investigated. Maybe that upsurge in visitors indicates that the new advertising campaign is right on target.
Online businesses aim to maximize the time visitors spend on the website; those who stay longer are more likely to make purchases. They want to know how long each visit lasts on average and measure the bounce rate (visitors who almost instantly leave). Study of these KPIs often reveal problems that ought to be corrected. Visitors expect to quickly find whatever item they entered in the search engine. If they are frustrated they are likely to quickly take their business elsewhere.
Every website has its home page but not every visitor first visits the home page. For example, a customer is attracted by a new sales offer or a particularly interesting blog post they found through social. They come to your site but initially land on the relevant page they followed. A page that gets a high number of hits is an asset that needs to be fully investigated. Take note of which website pages attract the most hits, the percentage of visitors who browse to other pages, and the number of these visits that lead to sales. The site owner should consider how they can persuade visitors to browse the other pages on the website, and above all, to load the shopping cart.
Local Search Engine Results
Customers appreciate additional guidance to reach the section of most interest to them. These internal website search engines are easy to implement. They make it much more convenient for visitors to quickly find specific information before their limited patience runs out. Analysis of visitor search patterns reveals which products are most popular. It also shows where website content and site organization needs to be changed.
In KPI terms the conversion rate represents the number of website visitor who proceed to buy the product or service. There is a good case to place this KPI at the top of the list to monitor. A large number of hits with very few purchases have little value. Sales are the ultimate website performance indicator for these are the main justification for its existence.
Many factors influence conversion rates but the user friendliness and attractiveness of the website are some of the most important. Consider the value of responsive web design that adjusts screen size to the optimum for the visitor’s desktop PC browser or mobile. The landing page should capture their attention and enable them to quickly navigate to that appealing offer.
Key Performance Metrics Open the Door to Online Trading Success
Small and medium size businesses need to maximize the returns on their website investment. Even if they believe they have the greatest product or service, their website results are bound to disappoint if they ignore KPIs. These indicators enable businesses to discover their website’s strengths and weaknesses. They see where SEO needs to be improved, site website navigation simplified and accessibility enhanced. When KPIs start to show falling bounce rates and rising conversions rates it shows how well their lessons have been absorbed.
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