The most important factor in informing your business’ optimization on the web is the use of website analytics. Web analytics provide any business with the knowledge of where users come from, who the users are, how the users interact, when they support your business, and how they’ll behave heading forward. These five metrics mentioned here play a major role in informing online business optimization. If they are missing from your reporting I recommend that you explore incorporating them into your business analytics.
In order to maximize high quality traffic to your business’ website, it is important to understand your website’s traffic sources. The four most common tracked sources are Referral, Direct, Organic Search, and Social. A referrals breakdown illustrates what websites send the most traffic to your website. Does most of your referral traffic originate from articles on your business’ innovations, community involvement, local press, or other work? Direct traffic is usually from bookmarks or committed customers that drop your website directly into a browser, and can be used as a partial measure of the stickiness and success of prior practices. Organic Search traffic reflects the ability of your business to position itself alongside important search terms that potential users and consumers are searching for. Social traffic can be interpreted similarly to Referral traffic, but is instead a sounding board for how your business is polling with the layperson as opposed to how your business is polling with other businesses or news outlets. Understanding what business practices result in the most traffic can help direct Marketing and PR efforts in order to maximize the reach of your brand.
User Timings are a powerful metric that can help your business understand how to retain traffic that lands on your website. The most common implementation of User Timings is to understand how long it takes for a user to load your website. The longer the website takes to load, the more likely the user is to bounce or exit your website. User timings can also be used to measure how long users spend interacting with specific parts of a webpage. Implementing user timings can tell you how long people spend interacting with specific elements on a page and inform your decision making about what type of webpage content you want to support.
Page metrics illustrate what website pages are the most interactive, convert most frequently, and fail to retain users. Using page metrics effectively lets your business know what content to cull or support. If your infrequent blog posts draw high traffic but don’t convert users, then is the blog worth supporting instead of a lower traffic but higher converting area of the website? If people land on your website through your about page but bounce at a high rate, then do you try to land people at a higher converting page or do your implement a stronger call to action on your about page to encourage conversions? Understanding Page Metrics can help you dial in to the optimal design for your website and how your business can prioritize for the web.
Having optimized Traffic Sources, User Timings, and Page Metrics, your business is ideally flooded with new users and conversions. However, there is a chance that all the time and energy spent on the new conversions has eclipsed the gains they offer. This is where the Cost of Conversion (alternatively Lead Generation Costs or Cost per Referral) metric comes into play. Acquiring more business doesn’t make sense if the acquisition costs of that business result in damaging net income changes. Measure how much time and money was spent making the new changes and optimizations against how much money those conversions will bring in to continue refining your business for optimal operation.
A factor in the above Cost of Conversion metric is Customer Lifetime Value, or how much each average customer can be expected to give to your business over all of their conversions. It is important to take into account not only the immediate revenue gained from a conversion, but the likely behavior of that user in the future. For example, if you compared the Cost of Conversion to only immediate net income changes and not net income changes adjusted for the Customer Lifetime Value of the new conversions, your business may end up reverting a change that resulted in positive net income effects over the long term.
Your business can grow on the web, and it can grow using these metrics. A decade of building on the web has taught us that analytics focused optimization drives traffic, increases conversions, and scales up modern businesses. We incorporate analytics in our own business operations and in our work for clients because these analytics make our businesses better.
If you would like to discuss business analytics, reporting, online best practices, or how your business can benefit from analytics, feel free to contact us below or reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.