When it comes to deciding whether or not your business website is a success, there’s more to it than the feedback you get from your family and friends on how great it looks – although that’s good too! Analyzing the behavior of your online visitors is simple yet invaluable – and you can do it using free tools like Google Analytics. This data will help you when you’re assessing the performance of your website and your online marketing campaigns. Here are five key metrics you should be monitored regularly.
A “session” is a group of interactions a user has with your website within a particular timeframe. For example, a user might arrive on your site and visit the home page, FAQ page, and contact us page, then submit an inquiry form, all over the course of around five minutes, and then leave – that would count as a single session, although it contained a number of page views and actions.
The “users” value is the number of different individual visitors your site receives. Your number of sessions will almost always be higher than the number of users because normally a user will visit your site more than once and rack up multiple sessions. In fact, you hope this is the case – you want to have the kind of website that your visitors find useful and return to frequently!
“Pages/session” is the average number of pages a user views in each session, or visit your site. This metric gives you an indication of whether visitors land on your site and spend time browsing, or if they leave after only visiting one or two pages.
Your bounce rate and your pages/ session metrics together tell you a lot about how people are interacting with your site – but how you interpret the numbers can depend on what kind of website you have. Your “bounce rate” is the percentage of single-page visits you get to your site; that is, how many people only visit one page on your site then leave without clicking on any of your other pages. In an ideal world for any kind of site people would spend time browsing, but exactly how dire these numbers do depend on what kind of website you have. If you have an information-based site, for example, a high bounce rate could mean that people are just looking for an answer and finding it quickly and without difficulty on your site – that’s a good thing! For an eCommerce site, on the other hand, this would be bad news.
“New sessions” is the percentage of first-time visits to your site. You would likely see this number increase if you were running a successful marketing campaign and directing a lot of new traffic to your site. It’s another metric that’s valuable to look at as part of a big picture analysis – you want to keep driving new traffic to your site, but you also want to be encouraging your existing customers and people who have been to your site before to keep returning.
Keeping an eye on your website’s performance is critical to long-term success, particularly when you’re planning or running online marketing campaigns.