There is an overwhelming number of metrics to monitor when tracking website performance. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on a few key metrics that tell the whole story. Key performance indicators (KPI’s) are used to see which goals are being met. The variables you track depend on your priorities, but in this article, you’ll find 7 KPI’s that are valuable for most businesses.
However, you can come up with your own KPI’s – they should have these characteristics:
- Relevant to your business
- Important for meeting your goals
- Can be shared throughout the company
- Quantifiable and well-defined
Choosing the wrong KPI’s can lead to monitoring the wrong thing. If it doesn’t align with your business objectives then it’s wasted effort. After all, tracking data consumes resources and you have a limited amount to allocate. After reading this article you’ll have a better idea of what valuable KPI’s look like and the ones you should be targeting.
1. Page speed
53% of website visits fail when the page load speed is longer than 3 seconds. Therefore, your aim should be to keep load speeds below this figure. Page speed is a KPI that doesn’t reveal profitability directly, but it’s a metric that paints a picture about website health. Managing loading speeds is comparable to the upkeep of a physical store location.
Imagine yourself as a potential customer that’s visiting your website. In an ideal world, the page would load instantly. However, you need to balance customer expectations with technical limitations. The difference between your offer and a competitor might come down to website performance – make sure you’re not giving up a competitive edge in this department. Every second counts since even a second delay can cause a 7% reduction in conversions.
To improve slow loading you can do the following:
- Install Google PageSpeed
- Optimize images by compressing and saving in the display size
- Choose your web host carefully
2. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave the target page without browsing onwards. It’s a percentage that’s calculated as the number of non-interactive visits divided by the interactive ones. Usually, the percentage is around 40-60%, but it’s all relative. A 50% bounce rate for one webpage might be a great result, but for another, it’s a disappointment.
Bounce rate is an important SEO consideration when visitors arrive from search engines. Google dislikes visitors moving between results in their SERP’s since it indicates a poor match. Therefore, if you have an unusually high bounce rate for a specific search term, then it will negatively affect your rankings.
Reducing the bounce rate for every webpage should be an ongoing process to improve sales.
Here are a few ideas:
- Optimize the call to action so it’s prominently placed and attractive.
- Improve the user experience by adding good quality content and give them reasons to browse the rest of your website.
- As you’ve already learned – improving loading speeds reduces bounce rate.
- Use A/B testing to improve page performance until the bounce rate reaches an acceptable percentage. However, make sure the changes you make do not improve bounce rate at the expense of reducing profitability. You need to prioritize your goals and work towards them.
- Use video and images to captivate your audience.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an under 20% bounce rate is a good thing. Such a low bounce rate is typically a sign of an incorrectly implemented tracking system. Problems that cause an unusually low bounce rate include third-party add-ons, poorly setup software, and duplicate analytics codes.
3. Organic search
Google search is a broad KPI that can include various metrics, but here we will focus on SERP rankings. It’s the rankings on search result pages for your target keywords. You can monitor rankings by taking a look at the Google Search Console. You can see information such as webpage placement for a specific keyword and the number of impressions generated.
Organic search also relates to the clickthrough rate, which is the percentage of users that click on your search listing. Relevancy is key to creating a SERP listing that users want to click on. You can optimize your meta tags to improve click-through rate, but note that Google doesn’t always pay attention to your meta tags. They might look at your webpage and use the info they feel is most relevant.
Organic search can be the life of a business, which means it’s a metric that matters more than most. Metrics that monitor organic search performance typically relate to business goals. You can find out information such as which pages convert best and the gender that leads to the most sales.
There is a lot that you can do to improve your search engine rankings. Start with on-page optimization by paying attention to keywords, meta tags, image optimization, internal linking, and remove broken links. You can also engage in off-page optimization by creating a diverse backlink strategy. Make sure to use white-hat backlink generation strategies that Google doesn’t frown upon – otherwise, you might be penalized.
Conversions are the total number of people that took up your offer divided by the number of website visitors. The offer might be to buy a product, sign up for a membership subscription or sign up for a newsletter. The average landing page conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, which means the majority of users are leaving your website without taking up the offer.
The conversion rate should be segmented based on the type of traffic you’re paying attention to, type of page, and the offer. The goal is to improve upon your personal conversion rate, which can be done with A/B testing. In a nutshell, A/B testing is the process of improving your conversion rate by changing various aspects of your website.
Conversions are an important metric because they directly relate to business goals. It’s a KPI that allows management to quickly asses the health of a business and key areas where improvements can be made.
5. Pages per session and average time per session
These KPI’s are about website engagement. It’s an important metric because if users aren’t engaged then they won’t stay long enough to see the call to action. There are no shortcuts to improving these KPI’s. You need to create an impressive website that competes with alternatives in your marketplace.
The average session is the 4th most tracked Google Analytics metric. Sessions start when a visitor loads up the page and ends when they leave, or there is 30 minutes of inactivity. This KPI relates to the quality of content and relevancy. Short average time suggests a frustrating experience because of website errors or they aren’t getting what they came for.
Pages per session indicate the number of page views for each visitor when they enter your website. This metric might be low if you are driving traffic to a landing page where you want users to take up an offer. However, if it’s an informational website then you’d want a lot of pages per session. This KPI tells you a story about website depth. Also, it relates to bounce rate and SEO. Users that are diving deeper into your website aren’t bouncing back to the SERP’s, which Google hates since it indicates a poor match.
6. Cost of acquisition (CAC)
This is the cost required to acquire a customer. It’s a KPI that helps understand the profitability of a marketing campaign. All other KPI’s might point to a healthy business, but if the CAC is too high then maintaining a profitable business is difficult.
Here are a few CAC best practices to increase profitability:
- Targeting: CAC can be improved by creating highly targeted marketing campaigns that have a detailed understating of the target audience. Segmenting customers based on gender, preferences, age and traffic source means you can create marketing campaigns that users can relate to.
- Monitor costs: track costs in real-time to stop campaigns that are underperforming. For example, when doing pay per click (PPC) you can stop campaigns as soon as they prove to be losers instead of waiting until the allocated funding has run out.
- Start small: don’t shoot yourself in the foot by creating a marketing campaign that requires a lot of funding and resources at the start. Instead, make sure you have a healthy CAC and then scale upwards.
7. Net Vs Gross Profit Margin
The difference between the net profit margin and gross profit margin indicates the profitability of a business. It’s the amount of money a business earns after the cost of sales and expenses has been taken into account. The metric determines whether a business is growing or heading towards bankruptcy.
To measure this KPI you need to utilize data sources such as sales dashboards and look at manufacturing/input costs. Other expenditures such as marketing and taxes must also be taken into account. Upper management and CEO’s can look at this KPI to figure out how well a business is doing at a glance.
The KPI’s mentioned in this article are just part of the puzzle. Feel free to use other KPI’s that are more applicable to your business. Their role is to keep track of your company strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you can work on the weaknesses to increase market share, improve customer satisfaction, and optimize your conversion rate.
You need to use KPI’s that keep track of different aspects of your business. Tracking the data and making changes is a positive ROI investment that must be part of your daily processes. Keep your KPI’s healthy and your business will flourish.