Knowing Your Website Vitals

By Marc Reifenrath on April 16, 2008 in Digital Marketing

Having a great website that reflects your overall branding is great, knowing your website vitals is even better.  Many businesses are familiar with the standard statistics such as hits, visitors, unique visitors, etc.   These are all great to know but are really only a small slice of the pie.  I like to call a few key statistics your website vitals.  These are the statistics that you should keep an eye on to really judge how your website is performing.  The vitals for every website can vary depending on the audience, generally speaking the statistics I refer to as the vitals apply to most sites.

For the sake of this article we will use an ecommerce site as an example.  The key vitals I like to look at for an ecommerce site are the conversion rate, source of your traffic, visits and keyword performance.  The conversion rate is calculated by taking your total visits divided by each successful purchase or transaction.  The higher your conversion rate the better obviously.  What you want to see with this is an increase in your daily visits while your conversion rate stays relatively the same.  If your traffic increases and your conversion rate drops then there needs to be some other alterations made to your site.  A good average conversion rate should be between three and seven percent.

The "sources " of your traffic is referring to where your traffic is coming from.  The main sources are direct traffic (meaning the user typed your url in directly), search engines and referring sites (other sites that have links to your site).  For an ecommerce site the search engine traffic is the most important one that we pay attention to.  For most ecommerce sites when we break down the different categories by percentages the search engine traffic should be close to fifty percent or more, the higher the better for this statistic.  The reason this garners so much attention is that these visitors are looking for products that are specific to your site.  Typically this means that we will see higher conversion rates for these visitors since they have found specifically what they were looking for. 

As mentioned above, visits are also a key statistic to watch.  It is the root of factoring many other statistics for your site such as conversion rates, average order value per visit, and so on.  Obviously the more visits your site can have the better.  However, it is better with our example to have a higher conversion rate as opposed to just a bunch of traffic.  If your visits increase and your conversion rate decreases then the traffic isn't good traffic.  You should always strive for quality visits to your site, this is how you will increase your overall conversion rate as well as gross sales. 

The final vital statistic in our example is keyword performance.  This is in reference to how the search engines are sending traffic to your site for specific search terms.  By monitoring how your keywords are performing, or not performing, you can use this information to make the appropriate adjustments to your site.  By monitoring your keywords you can increase sales, conversion rates and potentially your average order value.  The visits provided by the keywords will likely be the ideal visitor that we want to see on the site, this visitor has a higher chance of making a purchase.

Knowing what vitals, such as the ones mentioned above, to look at is one important step to a healthy website.  One of the best resources for this information is provided by Google.  Google offers a free software called Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is simply amazing, it will give you way more information about your site than you will ever need.  All of the above statistics are at your fingertips and accessible any where you can pull up   Monthly reports can be setup to automatically post and be emailed; this is great to send out to other associates that may not be as technically savvy. 

If you want to get a better return on your investment try watching your websites vitals.  Having the awareness on your vitals will give you the knowledge you need to make your site an ongoing resource or sales tool for your business.  Knowing this information will allow you to make the appropriate changes to your site to ultimately give you a measurable return on your investment.  Good luck, and if you have questions.  Google it!

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