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Which Website Metrics Do You Need to Track?

At first glance, the wide range of metrics that you can monitor for your website may seem daunting: There are many ways to analyze how people find your site, what they look at, or what products they browse and buy. This is why determining what you most want to measure—your key performance indicators (KPIs)—is such an important step.

Spend some time thinking through your overall goals for your website, so you can identify what KPIs you should be tracking and monitoring regularly. These KPIs won't just track the success of your website—they'll help you come up with action steps to build on that success.

Learning what KPIs are

It might take some time for you to determine how to identify the most useful KPIs for you to get the most out of your website. In the broadest sense, a KPI is a specific metric—something objective and quantifiable—that gives you a sense of how your business has performed over time.

What makes a KPI more than just a number that you watch rise and fall is that, once you learn how to measure KPIs, you can use this data point to help you make future decisions about your website or online store.

Big-picture metrics to monitor are your monthly ecommerce revenue and weekly pageviews. Other useful KPIs will help you make sense of those big-picture numbers. For example: 

  • If you notice that your monthly pageviews for July have dipped, examine the traffic source panel in Squarespace analytics to see where the drop in traffic is coming from. 

  • If social media is sending fewer visitors to you, consider posting more frequently or adjusting your content types in August.

  • If traffic from your emails to customers dropped last month, in your next email campaign consider ways to drive traffic back to your site and grow your subscriber list. 

Identifying the right KPIs to track

By thinking through your overall goals for your website, you can map out which site metrics will help you determine where you're succeeding and where you need to focus more attention. For example, is the purpose of your website to build awareness of your services? Is it a forum for building your rapport with clients? Is your goal to increase online sales?

Choose objectives or targets that indicate whether you're making progress toward your goals. If brand awareness is your goal, you might want to set targets for growing monthly pageviews or subscriptions to your email newsletter. If your goal is to increase revenue, perhaps you want to shoot for a 10% increase in the average sale, or increase your conversion rates so a greater proportion of people browsing make a purchase.

Once you’ve taken some time to determine the goals you most want to reach, the last step is to pick out 5-10 KPIs that will be the signposts for reaching those targets.

Let’s say that one of your targets is increasing the number of pageviews. In that case, you may want to examine specific traffic sources. These analytics can tell you if your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is effective and your site shows up high in search rankings. It might also be useful to look at bounce rates, which tell you what percentage of visitors have read a page and then clicked away from your website. Bounce rates can indicate key information, like whether visitors are drawn to your content and if they're able to easily navigate around your site.

Squarespace analytics dashboard traffic sources insights

Determining how often to monitor KPIs

Once you’ve chosen the most significant KPIs for your website, set a schedule for reviewing each one. Not only will this make sure your measurements are consistent, you'll save yourself from drowning in metrics or stressing over every dip and spike.

  • Daily KPIs: You may want to check product sales figures every day in order to ensure you have inventory on hand and adequate cash flow. If you look at your pageviews daily, you can spot sharp rises in traffic, indicating you’ve done something that you may want to repeat, as well as downturns that may help you identify problems you can quickly fix.

  • Monthly or quarterly KPIs: Some KPIs become more valuable as the data accrues. For example, SEO improvements you make on your site won't show up immediately, so tracking traffic from search-engine results on a monthly or quarterly basis gives you a more accurate assessment of whether your changes made a difference. After you've been monitoring the analytics from your site for several years, you'll be able to track seasonal fluctuations in your monthly sales and schedule special promotions during slower months.

  • Before and after an event: Sometimes you’ll only need to look at KPIs after an event or promotion to see how well it performed. For example, look at your site traffic after you send out an email newsletter or run a social media campaign to see if the marketing push was effective. You can also check conversion rates and product sales after offering a discount to see if shoppers responded to that particular promotion.

Learn more about how to use metrics to increase your website traffic

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