5 ways to get the most out of website KPIs

You might have heard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before – they’re the metrics you analyse in order to get an idea of how well your business is performing in relation to your goals.

When it comes to websites, there are analytic software options (e.g. Google Analytics, Heap, Kissmertics) that will offer you an avalanche of data about who is visiting your website, how deep into the site they venture, how often they come back and so on. The amount of data available is staggering and it’s impractical to analyse all of it. In fact, unless you dig deep enough, the data can give you a misleading impression of your website’s achievements.

The first thing many businesses do when they’re deciding which data to use as a KPI is immediately assume that their current Google ranking and number of page views are essential and obvious representations of their website’s success. This isn’t necessarily the case, however. These ‘vanity metrics’ offer data that might be great for making you feel like your website is popular, but being popular and being profitable don’t always correlate. In addition, it doesn’t help you understand how visitors are navigating your website, which is information that can be used to improve their experience.

To demonstrate actionable KPIs, here are five that I would recommend (as the minimum) you should be looking at, specifically in the context of corporate publishing (i.e. blogs and insight). These just scratch the surface, as you may have many more based on your business goals and marketing efforts.

  1. Landing page visits

    It’s easy to think landing page visits are just another vanity metric but, in context, they can give you essential content feedback. If you compare your landing page visits for each blog topic, you can find out which topics are most popular and look into reasons why unpopular articles aren’t getting traction online. Maybe the article title is too obscure and doesn’t show up on Google? Maybe you haven’t shared the article on social channels? Maybe there’s technical issue with the page? It’s important to understand the success of the landing page to then take action to fix it.

    Website KPIs Landing Pages

  2. Bounce rate

    How many people come to your content and leave without reviewing other pages? Knowing this information allows you to make decisions on how to encourage users to stay longer and revisit the site, such as offering links to related content or adjusting the user interface to make the experience more engaging. Bounce rate is also considered within the Google algorithms, so addressing these issues will have the added benefit of improving your SEO and encouraging more visits via search engines.

    Website KPIs Bounce Rate

  3. Downloads

    Although downloads are considered by many as a vanity metric (as it doesn’t show engagement or active users, etc.), knowing what documents/files visitors click to view will help you understand if the files are being found and the type of content that interests your users. With this information, you can take action to improve the visibility/positioning of important documents on your website, thus improving the user experience. Google Analytics doesn’t track clicks on files by default, however, so you will need to insert code on your website or add a tag in Google Tag Manager to track each download.

    Website KPIs Downloads

  4. Referrals

    This is about knowing how your visitors are finding your content and where they are navigating from. For instance, was it organic (from a search engine), or from a shared social media post? Did they arrive through a hyperlink in an influencer website’s content, or perhaps from a paid advertisement? Knowing this can help inform your strategy and will encourage you to take actions such as improving the visibility of the content on social channels, reaching out to your influencers and adjusting your paid advertising campaign settings. You invest a lot of time and money in making your content visible and it’s important to know if your strategy is working.

    Website KPIs Referrals

  5. Contact forms and subscriptions

    You need to know if your content is having an impact on your audience and if it’s encouraging them to contact you by completing a form on your website – be it a contact form or a sign-up of some sort. By reviewing how many form submissions are being received for a particular campaign (paid and organic), you can understand if there’s value in your content strategy. If users aren’t contacting you then you can take action by putting more effort into the campaign or adjusting your strategy. Unfortunately, like downloads, there is no default setup to measure this, so it’ll require some coding or configuration for the events and goals to appear in Google Analytics.

    Website KPIs Forms

So which KPIs should your business consider? It depends on your business objectives and the type of product you’re measuring (e.g. Corporate website, consumer app, etc.). We could go into textbook ideas of what direction your business could take, but that’s like telling you who you should employ or what flower arrangements suit your entrance – it’s all contextual. Your business has to consider which metrics will provide the most helpful, actionable feedback so as to identify problem areas to improve.

You shouldn’t have more than a few KPIs at a time to allow you to focus on specific data, and if you find the data you receive not offering as much helpful feedback as expected, don’t be afraid to change what you’re looking for. Just be sure it is also in the pursuit of your business objective.