Measuring the Success of Your Small Business Website

posted in: SEO/Marketing | 8

Your web designer has just built you a great looking website and you spend all that money to promote it but are you getting a bang for your buck? Was it money well spent? Is your website effective in converting visitors into buyers?

Measuring the success of your website is not as easy as looking at the number of visitors, PageRank (PR) value or your position in the search engine result pages (SERP).

Sure, it’s nice to see a growing number of visits to your site but traffic in itself is almost useless if it doesn’t bring in leads/sales. PR does let you know how authoritative your site is, but it doesn’t provide you with any data that you can monetize and use as a baseline to drive conversions or increase retention rates. Checking SERP values offers no tangible information either, especially since Google provides results base on users past preferences and their locality.

No. You should really be looking at a combination of various metrics, depending on your site’s goals. Start by setting up Google Analytics and familiarize yourself with your website’s performance by setting up goals and looking at the statistics.

Start by defining your website’s goals!

Define what you’d like your visitor to do upon arriving to your website. Those are your website’s goals.

There are many types of goals:

  • Page views
  • Downloads
  • Subscribes
  • Forms
  • Purchases

Goals vary from website to website and you should really concentrate on more then just one goal. Some like to contact the business via a form, others will want to subscribe to a newsletter first, yet others will be willing to make a direct purchase.

One solution does not fit all.

Why monitor the progress?

Website metrics will help you

  • Define the course of your internet marketing campaign.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
  • Show you which ads, keywords, search engines and referrals deliver the highest quality traffic, target high ROI markets and market segments and understand the effects of their strategies.
  • Improve your website usability, thus conversion.
  • Show you how design and usability affect sales and ROI.
  • Allow you to compare reports before and after some alterations in the website design and structure have been made.

Once you understand what works and what doesn’t, you can tweak your website design or marketing strategy accordingly, improving overall performance.

What should you measure?

Just like goals, metrics vary from website to website. E-commerce sites have pretty clear metrics – sales. For other sites, traffic & leads may be most valuable.

You shouldn’t look at just a single metric but instead concentrate on a handful of measurements that are right for you and your business (depending on those goals you’ve specified).

The combination of metrics can help you locate parts of your site that need work. They can also pinpoint the types of marketing campaign you should be spending your budgeting dollars on.

Take a look at referrers – Which sites drive traffic to your website. If it’s search engines, consider the keywords that bring you the visitors most often. This is good base information for your SEO/SEM campaign and it will help you identify whether your natural search engine optimization or pay-per-click is working as you expect. For example, you may be getting visitors who search on a term you haven’t thought of, or alternatively some search phrases may be generating more visitors than you expect. You can use this knowledge tweak your SEO strategy.

If you are getting huge traffic spikes when you post to your blog and those spikes correlate with estimate form sign-ups, then you should focus on the blog as your marketing tool. If you get lots of return visitors from Facebook, then you need to stay active there but maybe abandon your Twitter campaign that’s been lagging behind.

Take a look at your site usability – What’s your bounce rate? Do your visitors stay only for few seconds or continue on to other pages?

Types of metrics:

Business metrics

  • ROI – return on investment which is how much you got back compared to what you put into a project. If you spend $1000 on your website and earn $2000 your ROI is 200%.
  • Traffic – where are your visitors coming from, what percentage of your traffic is referred and what percentage is coming from the search engines (which ones)?
  • Leads – what’s the conversion rate for your lead generating form meaning how many visitors are actually contacting your sales department?
  • Sales – how many purchases are made compared to the number of visitors your website is receiving?
  • Other conversion – how many subscribe to your newsletter, take a survey, retweet your article, or fulfill another goal that you’ve set up?

Usability metrics

  • Bounce rate – Bounce rate helps identifies the % of traffic to your website that “leave instantly”. This happens for a number of reasons, from poor usability of the website to irrelevant information. While a bounce rate of 40% (70% for blogs) is considered healthy, anything above should be a concern.
  • Returning visitors – You want to see a rising number of returning visitors. It is easier to convert an existing listener than to pitch to a new one.
  • Time on page, pageviews per visit, etc. – This will tell you how relevant your website is to what your visitor is looking for, how engaging it is, how easy to navigate, how easy to convert.

SEO metrics

  • Link acquisition – Great content will attract not only visitors but links. Google places a great deal of importance on inbound links so you should pay attention to them as well. What matters here is not necessarily the number but quality of backlinks. You want to attract high trust and high authority links that are coming from different domains. If you aren’t, then it’s time to tweak the copy of your website.

Key metrics allow you to quantify results but looking at the right metrics for your business will allow you to not only grow but grow a more profitable business via your website.

8 Responses

  1. Andy Crittenden

    I’m working on building a new website, and have enjoyed reading several of your posts. Lots of good information. My primary business is creating videos for companies… training videos, sales marketing, web, commercials, etc.
    Do y0u have any suggestions on how I might create a strong call to action when I get people to my site? I’m hoping to convert site visitors into phone calls, so I can try to convert those into clients…



  2. Thanks for visiting, Andy. I’m briefly describing landing page and lead generation optimization in my latest post actually, but I’ll be glad to provide more help if you ever decide to hire a professional. There are many things to consider when optimizing your website/page for conversion, such as who is your target audience, where are they coming from and what do they expect from being on your site. Give all that info you have to come up with appropriate design/layout/copywriting to not only capture their attention but to actually have them take the next step – contact you.

  3. Measuring the Success of Your Small Business Website | Joanna Ciolek via @joannaciolek

  4. Interesting ideas, and a good approach to webdesign. I’ve had some discussions with financial experts lately concerning CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis) and it’s very difficult to ascertain without specific metrics.
    One of the problems is that questions regarding site goals are usually beyond the client’s expertise. Ask them how many visitors they want in a week, and they’ll either say ‘millions’ or ‘idunno’. As a proactive measure, it would be more beneficial to the client to tell THEM what they should expect. I know educating clients is a hot topic, but since we are the experts, we should be telling others what their site can be doing. Many people are not aware of things like CTAs and what they want visitors to do on their site.

    The easiest way to prove certain stats would be to make changes and monitor the results. I know of an ecommerce company that improved conversions 30% by increasing the size of one button. A marketing company I know improved conversions for their client by changing one colour.

    Some things are not measurable until you try them. Perhaps an ongoing adaptation and monitoring plan would work for some sites?

  5. This is a good start-of-year article to get businesses to focus on what they want their website to do for them. Thanks.

  6. I just wanted to point out a great conversation regarding this post happening on a LinkedIn forum as well:

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