Before we dive into metrics, let’s give our guts a shout out. Your gut is a pretty good indicator of whether things are right or wrong. But sometimes we need just a bit more data to judge.
First things first, you can’t make decisions with data you don’t have, so hopefully you have some type of tracking installed on your site. My favorite tracking system by far is Google Analytics. It’s free and there’s lots of resources available to help you understand what all the metrics in the system mean.
Next, before you start losing yourself to the numbers, decide what you wanted to get out of your website in the first place. Are you entertaining people or are you trying to generate business, maybe you’re trying to do both. Your goals will dictate the metrics that you’ll use to judge whether your website is working or not.
A website that works encourages prospects to contact you. How many people email you using the email form on your site? You can track this manually in a spreadsheet or use an email form that records submissions in a database that you can login and check monthly. You can track people who click on your phone number using their mobile device as well.
When I ask where your visitors come from it could mean one of any number of things. It might mean what website referred them to you, what advertising method brought them there or country are they in. Like any type of data, your website traffic data will come will a barrage of abnormalities. These types of things can often be avoided if sort your data before reviewing. Look at data from one segment at a time. Look at people in your town and then people in your state. Look at visitors from Facebook separate from visitors from organic search. When you narrow down your field at first you’ll be amazed by home many random visitors you get from elsewhere and then, if your website is working, you might be pleasantly surprised at how well the visitors in that segment actually behave on your site.
Getting the right visitors to your website is the first baby step to making a sale. Google analytics calls this metric “Users”. You could have the most beautiful site in the world but if no one ever sees it…you know the drill, you have to get in front of enough people to finally make contact with one who’s ready to buy right now. I know what you’re thinking – how many people should I have visiting my website? That’s a tough one to benchmark but I’ll give it a try. All of these numbers are assuming you don’t blog, and for construction companies, these numbers would fluctuate from season to season:
On Google Analytics this is called Pages Per Session. Most of my clients have close to two pages per session and that number goes up if you narrow down to a location closer to their service area. If your pages per session is close to one that could potentially be a result of some of your marketing activities. Social media links to your website and email marketing can tend to drive down the number of pages people visit. People click on a link and are delivered to the exact information that they wanted to see so they don’t have to visit any other pages in your site. If you are engaging those types of activities you should also see quite a bit of Returning visitors as well. Use those metrics to kind of balance one another.
Google analytics calls this Avg. Session Duration. If people aren’t hanging around your site for more than a minute, something’s not working. Session duration varies by what type of information you share. If you’re writing really long technical articles or if you sell equipment online people should be on your website longer. It takes time to read long articles or compare pieces of equipment. However, if you have a short brochure style website your visitors will likely be on your site for closer to a minute. And if they’re not, your site is either taking to long to load or it’s super ugly.
Websites that work to generate new business should have lots of new visitors. Most sales websites have around 80-90% new visitors. While if you run an association you should have more return visitors.
Websites that work look good on mobile devices. As of February 2017 mobile devices accounted for 49.7% of website page views. Compare mobile -vs- desktop and tablet website visitors. Yup, Google Analytics actually tracks that, it’s under Mobile. Check out how long people stay on your website and how many pages they go to when on the different device types. In my experience businesses who sell to the general public should have very similar Average Session Duration and Pages/Session for both desktop and mobile. However, those are business to business may have a much shorter duration and less pages per session on mobile.
It’s hard to compare your website against another company’s. So instead, benchmark against yourself year over year or even seasonally to see if you need to make changes to your site or other marketing activities.
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