But platforms like Google Analytics give you access to more data than you could ever possibly hope to comprehend. And while each of the various reports can help you learn something about your audience, you don’t need to be monitoring all of them on a regular basis.
So, which metrics should you be measuring? The answer, of course, is that it depends. More specifically, it depends on your website type, business model, and what you’re hoping to achieve. That’s why we’ll take a look at the best website KPIs for three different website types: A blog, an e-commerce website, and a lead generation website, and learn how to measure a KPI.
A KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, can be defined as a measurement that is in place to measure the performance of any business activity. In this case, we’ll be focusing on KPIs that measure the effectiveness of a website. Essentially, the good website KPIs are the metrics you determine to be the most important for your site so that you can easily gauge its success.
They should help you (and anyone else who works on your site) establish a clear connection between your online efforts and your business goals. Then, you can use them to make data-driven decisions for your organization. To make things a little clearer, let’s take a look at a breakdown of what KPIs are and are not.
First, each KPI you choose needs to be quantifiable. They should be easy to measure with clear, numerical values. While many companies set goals like “increase brand awareness,” this kind of objective leaves a lot up to interpretation. To measure your progress, you’ll need to focus on more straightforward metrics. You should also focus on metrics related to factors that are essential to your company’s success. There’s a ton of data available to you in platforms like Google Analytics, but not all of it has a clear tie to important goals like leads and sales.
So as you select your types of KPIs for website traffic, aim to limit them to 5-8 key metrics that are most directly relate to your business objectives. After all, not every metric on your site can be a “key” indicator of performance. Plus, this would take entirely too much time to read and analyze every time you want to see how your site is performing. Once you’ve selected these KPIs, we will use them consistently in the reporting strategy. Using the same metrics is the best way to gauge improvement over time, and will ensure that everyone who works on your site is working towards the same goals.
On the flip side, your KPIs should not focus on data that isn’t actionable. If you’re spending time analyzing your site, you want to make sure that you’re gaining insight that will help you make impactful changes. Your KPIs also shouldn’t be entire reports. Although accessing these reports in platforms like Google Analytics is simple in theory, they still require digging through tons of data. Instead, select single metrics that make monitoring your progress a straightforward task. Finally, it’s important to steer clear of using “vanity metrics” as KPIs.
A vanity metric is anything that makes you feel good about your site’s progress, without telling you anything important about your business. Take a look at the difference between the vanity metrics and actionable metrics in the following chart.
While the metrics on the left, like pageviews and social media “likes” can help you gauge overall impressions, they don’t tell you much about how your digital marketing efforts are impacting your company’s goals. After all, your business is trying to generate revenue - not just attract traffic.
Unfortunately, focusing on these metrics is a common mistake. Many business owners spend their time measuring metrics like overall traffic, social shares, and rankings.