One of the core principles of any professional web design is that before the actual website creation happens, part of the planning for it must include at least one objective for the website, and preferably more than one. This can include increasing brand awareness, lead generation, product visibility and best of all, direct sales.
If we take this forward to the point that a website is live, many business owners struggle to determine how well their website is doing. Often its main objective is not immediately measurable by data. For example, brand awareness is something that does not easily have a number allocated to it, but rather is measured in other ways such as people discussing the brand or showing more trust in the company.
Having said that, there are several ways in which you can assess a website and how effective its web design or redesign has been. These are measured using specific KPIs which give a true reflection of the website and its performance. These KPIs then allow the website owner to arrange for changes and improvements in the web design, traffic sources and content, for example.
Unique / Total Visitor Sessions
This KPI tells you how much traffic is coming to your website as it measures how many sessions, or visits it has had. You need to split this KPI between total sessions and unique sessions as some visitors will return at a later date. Moving forward this indicates if any of your online marketing activities are increasing your traffic as evidenced by increasing sessions.
Visitor Return Percentage
We mentioned in the last section visitors will return and the percentage of return visits can be measured. The significance of this is that if the percentage is low, and your website is one where you want visitors to return it suggests improvements need to be made.
Sources Of Traffic
This is a critical KPI as it provides data that relates to other elements of your digital marketing strategy. Seeing what sources your traffic comes from the most allows you to focus resources and investment in generating that traffic, and improving or removing the ones which provide little traffic to your website.
Bounce Rate (For Each Page)
A mistake some business owners make with this KPI is they measure only their home page’s bounce rate. Whilst it is important, you also want to know the bounce rate of all your other pages as if any of them are high you can take steps to improve or fix that page to reduce it. Bear in mind bounce rate is a key ranking factor for Google.
Average Session Duration
The longer someone remains on your website the more it indicates that they like what they have found. It could be the content you have there, or that you have an interactive element that they enjoy. Whatever it is that is keeping them there, you want to ensure that you have more of it within your web design.
Exit Page Rates
This often gets confused with bounce rate, but it is different. This measures which page visitors are leaving your website from and if any are high is does not necessarily indicate a problem. Pages that ask a visitor to telephone you, or to click through to a third-payment site such as PayPal are ones where you want the exit rate to be high as it means the desired action has been taken.
Quite simply this is a measure of the percentage of visitors to a page that take the action you wish them to. This could be a direct sales, but also providing their email address, completing a contact us form or a quotation request. Where the conversion is low, improvement is needed such as a better call to action.