Many B2B businesses still have no idea what the objectives are for their websites. Is the website a marketing tool or a business tool? Who contributes to its content? What is the main purpose of the website? How can you tell if it is doing well? Is it generating me leads? Are my customers using it as a resource for decision making or product specification?
Without knowing how to read web data and knowing what to measure you cannot determine if your website is doing what you want it to do. Using various web analytics software (some of which are free) you can get an insight into measuring web data to determine real success and improve the performance of your content driven website.
Here are my metrics which you should monitor to gain insight into visitor behaviour and metrics to help improve the performance of your website:
1) Visitor Loyalty
How often do visitors visit the site? Do your visitors visit once a month? 3 times a month? 10 times a month? Compare this metric over a period of time, for example compare this month to last month or this quarter to last quarter. You will be able to see which group has increased or decreased. You will be able to say “We have increased the number of visitors who visit the website 4 times by x% and we have reduced the number of visitors who only visit once in that selected time frame”. Is there not an element of loyalty there? This means you will then need to keep the content fresh, new, exciting to keep that loyalty and trust. Below example shows you that the number of visitors returning just once has been reduced and the number of visitors returning 4 or 5 times has increased. Great example of a successful customer retention strategy.
2) Visitor Recency
How long has it been since a visitor last visited? Again, compare this to two different time periods to see if there is a change or did things remain the same. This will give you an insight into how many days apart visitors visit the site. The below example shows you that there is an increase in the number of visitors coming back on the same day or 1 day of each other.
TIP: Take the recency for the largest percentage of visitors (e.g. 8-14 days) and the top content for returning visitors for the site, this will then give you an insight into how often to update the website with what content?
3) Length of Visit
This will tell you the quality of the visit or the level of engagement. If the time spent on site is high then most likely the content is of value and the visitors are sticking around to consume more information. You can also look at the time spent on site for each individual page or pages (e.g. landing pages)
TIP: Occasionally the ‘time spent on site’ metric can be unreliable. Be aware of the limitations of this metric.
4) Depth of Visit
Measures the number of pages viewed by your visitors. Here you will be able to view how many pages visitors view on your site. Always compare metrics over a period of time and try to get an insight into whether visitors are viewing more pages or less. For both, you can drill down deeper to find out if your site has a well organised structure by comparing the number of pages viewed and the time spent on site. For example, if the time spent on site is going down and the number of pages viewed going up then it could be that visitors can’t seem to find the content they require and as a result end up clicking rapidly through various pages in a short amount of time trying to find the page they were looking for. The below example shows you an increase in visitors viewing 3 and 6 pages and seen a reduction on the number of visitors who only viewed 1 page.
TIP: You could use an ‘on exit’ survey to find out if your visitors found what they were looking for. There are many ‘on-exit’ survey providers to choose from and all easy to implement, just do a Google search to find one.
Goals can be anything you want to measure. Examples of popular goals for content driven websites are downloads, enquiries submitted, videos viewed, datasheets requests, newsletter sign-ups or registrations and call back requests. On Google Analytics you can also set each action as goals. With a new feature you can also now set goals for ‘time spent on the site’ or ‘number of pages viewed’. For your website, list all the links or pages where an action is required and monitor those actions. Reflect back after a month or another time frame and see if numbers are up or down, try changing the copy or the design of the buttons to increase conversions.
TIP: Always conduct A/B split testing (Multivariate testing) to determine which pages, especially landing pages for campaigns, prove to be more successful and employ those that do well at converting visitors into leads.
TIP: Use the defined goals to find out which type of traffic, source, referrer, keyword or PPC ad has the higher conversion rate.
There are other ways in which you can also measure success and if you are using other metrics for gaining further insights then please feel free to share them below in the comments.