How and why you should start measuring your website traffic

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How is your website currently performing?

It’s crazy just how many business owners can’t answer this simple question. That’s because many just don’t know how or simply just don’t bother.

Why do you need to measure your website traffic?

Without measurement, everything becomes a guessing game. You don’t know how well or badly your website is performing. You have no idea which of your content works best. You don’t know which pages get the most visits.

Metrics, traffic, analytics – they do sound scary. But believe it or not, measuring your website’s performance is really not rocket science. First, you need to understand what you’re measuring, why you’re measuring it and how you can use your findings to improve your website’s performance.

1. Tools to use

Google Analytics is the best free tool for measuring website traffic and a good starting point for measuring your website’s performance. All you need to do is to put the Google Analytics code on your website to get it to start tracking. It will give you almost everything you need to know and lets you set up custom reports.

There are also paid tools like Kissmetrics, which effectively measures website engagement, Hubspot, a one-stop, marketing automation tool, and Crazy Egg, which measures certain types of user behaviour.

2. Know your website goals

How will you measure if you don’t know what to measure? So first, you need to identify your website’s goal. For most businesses, the endgame is to increase revenue. But there are other significant engagement steps you may want to track, like email subscriptions, content downloads, video views, contact form submissions, live chat interactions, and the like. Check out my recent post about Smart Goals

3. Identify your KPIs

Not to bombard you with marketing jargon, but I believe KPIs (key performance indicators) is now a need-to-know. In other words, identify the metrics that matter. It’s easy to get confused with the variety of reports modern analytics tools offer. So you have to know which among these are important to your business. For instance, if your website goal is to drive leads, you should focus on the conversion rate, or how much your website can convert visitors into leads. A high conversion rate means your website is performing well.

4. Other things to measure

While you already have a clear goal and KPI’s in mind, it would also help to check other important metrics that may have led to your goal accomplishments:

  • Visits – the total number of visits to your website at a given period, which also includes multiple visits from a single user.
  • Unique visitors – an individual visitor coming to your website for a specific period. If a visitor goes to your site 5 times, he/she will be measured as one unique visitor.
  • Page views – the number of times a specific web page has been viewed
  • Page/visit – tells you the average number of pages viewed during a visit.
  • Traffic sources – lets you know where traffic is coming from, either Direct (user types in your URL into the browser), Referral (traffic from other sites or social media platforms that link to you) and Organic (traffic that came from search engines). This is a good way to track your online advertising strategies and to know the best social media channels to market your brand. This will also tell you if your SEO efforts (or the lack thereof) are making a difference to your site.
  • Bounce rate – tells you a percentage of site visitors who left after viewing only one page (you’ll want this number to be as low as possible). High bounce rates could point to many issues, like a lack of relevant content or poor usability.
  • Landing pages – visitors’ point of entry to your site. The page with the highest number of entries may be the most relevant to visitors’ search queries.

If you haven’t yet started measuring your website’s performance, these basics will help you get started.

You can slowly explore other metrics as you go. Make website analytics a habit and fine-tune your site according to your findings.

How do you measure your website’s performance? What other metrics do you use?