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5 Website Metrics that Small Business Owners Should Track

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Consumers naturally use the Internet as a tool to learn more about business products and services.  Having a website is crucial to capture these consumers and turn them into customers or clients. But the advantages to having a website don’t stop there.

With the proper tracking, the site can also tell you more about your customer base and help you better target your marketing efforts. For small businesses, it’s often the quality of traffic rather than the volume that matters most. By using this tracking, you can now find out as much about your customers as they can find out about you!

We have compiled the top five website metrics that you should be tracking. These metrics can tell you more about your audience, including who your customers are, what kind of traffic your site drives and how your website visitors interact with your site. You can use this information to optimize your site and improve your overall business.

1. Number of Unique & Return Visitors

One metric you can use to find out more about your customer base is new versus returning visitors. Different tracking websites define these metrics differently, but on the most basic level, unique visitors are those visiting a website for the first-time and return visitors have landed on the website at least once before.

Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics use each visitor’s Internet Provider (IP) address to determine more about that user. Once that visitor lands on the site, the platform saves their IP address in something called a cookie (a bit of information about site behavior saved within the site’s data). If the tracker registers that same IP address again, those visitors would be deemed “return visitors”.

Unique and return customer metrics can give you an accurate picture of how many new sets of eyes you are getting to your website on a daily or monthly basis. If your unique visit count remains stagnant for a while, you might want to re-examine your search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to see how you can boost traffic.

Returning visitor numbers and their performance can also provide valuable insights into customer re-engagement and customer service tactics. If loyal customers are important for your business, you’ll want a high percentage of return visitors to your site.

2. Visitor Engagement

In addition to the number of visitors you get, it is helpful to measure how visitors engage with your site. One way of measuring engagement is to check the number of visits and page views to determine visitor engagement. The wider the gap between visits and page views, the more your website visitors are interacting with your site. For example, if you have 200 visits in a day and 400 page views, your website visitors are averaging about two pages per visit.

Another important engagement metric is your bounce rate (or the percentage of visitors who leave your site without engaging). For pages with a very high bounce rate (typically where bounce rate is higher than 60%), it might be time to revisit the design, content or user experience to identify what is causing those visitors to exit. You might reduce your bounce rate by lowering page load time, simplifying your navigation or making sure all content is cohesive.

3. Website Content Trends

Along with measuring engagement through bounce rate, you can also identify which pages are causing your customers to exit your site. An exit page is the page your visitor was on before halting engagement. Analyze your top exit pages and you can see why visitors decide to leave your site. Are they at the end of the ordering funnel? Or is there something wrong with the page that is not keeping the customers engaged? Content that is engaging and concise, images that complement the brand and a clear call-to-action can all help keep customers from exiting the site.

4. Traffic Sources

Do you know where your website traffic comes from? You can use your web analytics platform to find out! Some examples of web traffic sources are direct (when your visitor types in the URL in the browser’s top bar), referrals (other websites with links to your site) or organic (when someone finds your site after searching on Google or another search engine). Your site’s mix of web traffic sources can tell you about your visitors. Identify your most successful traffic sources, and you can optimize your traffic. For example, if your most engaged visitor segment is from social media, you can launch more frequent ads or posts and improve your overall business success.

5. Top Keywords

Depending on the analytics reporting tool you use, you should have the option to see top keywords or search phrases. Keywords are the terms that each website visitor searches for when to find your site on Google or other search engines. These search terms or phrases can give you valuable insight into what your visitors are looking for, so you can refine your message and capture these customers.

To get the most out of your business’ website, track its success and determine how to optimize it. Learning more about your customers is also never a bad idea. By using web traffic analytics tools, you can determine a lot about the way customers interact with your business online and what kinds of customers you should be targeting both online and offline.

Term Glossary

Unique visitor: A first-time visitor to a website.

Return visitor: A visitor who has been to the website before within a certain time period.

IP Address: A user’s unique web Internet Provider address that identifies that person and certain aspects about that person’s Internet usage, such as service provider or device type.

Site Cookie: A bit of web interaction information saved to your website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The practice of improving a website’s position on certain search engines so that it shows up higher on the page and is likely to receive more visitors.  

Bounce Rate: The percentage of total visitors to a website that exit before interacting with the site in any way.

Referral traffic: Traffic that land on your site by clicking on a link on a different site.

Direct Entry traffic: Visitors that land on your site by entering the web address directly into the URL box in their browsers.

Organic traffic: Visitors who searched a term relevant to your business on a search engine and clicked on your unpaid search listing.

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