How can you tell if your website is “effective”? What does it mean to be “effective”? It means it is successful, depending on the goals that you set for it. The goal can be as simple as wanting more people to visit your site or as specific as wanting to see a certain number of people. Just having a website in and of itself doesn’t do much to help your business. The work begins after you’ve built it. Gain insight into what your users are doing while they’re on it.
You’ll need to have access to metrics that tell you:
- Who is looking at your website
- What pages they’re looking at
- How they are viewing it
While you shouldn’t focus on collecting as much information as you possibly can, you will need to collect the data that’s most important to you. These are 5 key metrics that you definitely want to keep an eye on frequently or on a periodic basis.
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Cost Per Conversion
- Time On Site
1. Bounce Rate
A bounce is when a user goes directly to a single page on your website and immediately leaves without visiting another page. If this behavior occurs, then there will be negative impacts on metrics you use to evaluate the user’s time on site. A bounce counts as 0 seconds during the user’s session.
The more bounces that occur on a website, the higher the bounce rate will be. Generally, this is not a good thing as this means the user is going to your website and not making any interaction. A high bounce rate could indicate that users are not finding the information they need immediately upon arriving at your website. You want users to take another action when they go to your website, and lead them through a unique customer journey that will hopefully convert them into a prospect/customer. The good news is that you can also define what a bounce is through Analytics to avoid this depending on what the goal of the web page is.
2. Conversion Rate
If you’ve set up your analytics correctly, and the user takes all the actions you want them to take, then you’ll land a conversion. Conversions can be anything from “Contact Us” form fills to making a purchase. This is perhaps the most important metric to keep track of. Having a low bounce rate is good, but there can be several steps in between the moment their session starts and the moment in which the user completes the desired end action.
If they click into another page, then it’s a good sign that you just avoided another bounce. However, maybe they didn’t go to the page you wanted or they didn’t fill out a form you expected. This behavior won’t count as a conversion and thus isn’t helping your business. Maybe one page gets more conversions than another. Looking at why that is the case will help you with understanding the reason for it and applying it throughout other pages on your site.
3. Cost Per Conversion
Once you’ve begun to gather conversions you’ll be able to look at your conversion rates. How much did it cost to get that conversion? How many resources did you allocate and was the yield worth it? As stated previously, a conversion can be a variety of different desired actions and doesn’t necessarily need to be a purchase. It can be a form submission. It is an action that you’ve defined as a conversion.
Generally you can calculate this by the amount of money you’ve spent driving traffic to your website, including the initial cost of development if it’s a fresh launch divided by the number of conversions. Look at the numbers and see if it’s what you projected. Maybe it costs more so you’ll have to unpack and determine what led to that. This all revolves around your business goals, so if growth is more important to you than maintaining a low cost per conversion, then losing money initially doesn’t always foreshadow failure.
So what happens if you weren’t able to nail a conversion? You have to look at what other actions the user took while viewing your site. Maybe they clicked into a different page/followed an alternate path to the one you highlighted. Different users will interact differently so it is normal to not have a 100% conversion rate. If it was that easy everyone would run a business.
Take a look at the interactions.
- What interactions lead to a conversion?
- Is there a pattern towards that conversion?
- Is there a pattern of user interactions that lead somewhere else?
- Is there a correlation of the number of interactions and a conversion?
Analyzing and understanding this data will help you improve your users’ interactions by continuing what you are doing well and by testing new strategies.
5. Time On Site
You want to keep your user on your site for as long as possible. The longer the session the higher the probability is that they will execute some form of actions. Performing actions will lead to more conversions.
This is where your web design really has the most impact. Users today know almost immediately if they’re going to stay on your site or not. You not only have to grab their attention, but also keep them engaged. People’s eyes lock onto quality content, but they tend to skim as well—ensuring that your content is both substantial and eye-catching will keep your users on site for longer. If your website doesn’t look professional, most people will tend to bounce right away.
This information lets you know which pages are keeping users on site longer and can help you emulate this throughout the rest of your website. So write captivating content and design it in a way that is:
- Grammatically correct (seems obvious, but very easy to miss!)
- Make your text scannable
- Incorporate images
- Connect to other inner pages
- Write text that targets your personas and their unique needs/pain points
- Uses the right language
- Have a call to action to do something after everything is said and done
Keep collecting information. Most importantly, collect the right information that is most relevant to your business. Continually determine what is “success” as that will evolve as your business grows and your needs change. Knowing these key metrics will allow you to know if your website is truly effective.
Need help with optimizing your website? Reach out to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our team, and we’ll help guide you in the right direction.