How to Set Realistic Performance Targets for Your Website

Realistic performance targetsWhen I’m talking to people about Google Analytics, I regularly get asked the same questions:

“How can I tell how well my website is performing?” and “How much web traffic should I be aiming for?“.

This article will give you information about setting benchmarks for your website so you can monitor how well it helps you achieve your business goals.

There are many different variables that impact on how your website performs

They include:

  • Your online marketing programs
  • How well your website is optimised for search engines
  • How many people search for your target keywords
  • Which geographic area you are targeting
  • How well your copy is written
  • How regularly you add new content
  • How clear your Call to Actions are.

These and other factors, including how well optimised and effective your competitors websites are, all have an impact on how many people visit your website and the actions that your visitors take.

Because each website is unique, the best option for monitoring your website’s performance is compare it to… well…. to itself!

Set benchmarks and monitor them regularly to get a clear understanding of what to expect.  This way you’ll know if your marketing campaigns, copy updates and other changes have had an impact.

Google Analytics gives access to a wealth of statistics. But it’s important to note that it doesn’t track every single visitor. (To be tracked, your visitors can’t have cookies blocked and need to have java script enabled.)

What Stats Should You Monitor?

Some of the key statistics from Google Analytics that you can track regularly are:

  • Sessions – The total number of sessions created by people who have visited your website. This includes people who visit more than once. If you are running marketing campaigns with the aim of increasing your web traffic and getting people to visit your website regularly, then your Sessions should increase. Blogging is a great strategy to achieve both!
  • Users – The number of individuals you have visited your website. Note – If the same person visits from different devices they are tracked multiple times, unless you’ve customised Universal Analytics.
  • Bounce Rate – The percentage of people who leave your website without visiting more than one page. For bounce rates, the lower the better. For example, if your bounce rate is 100% then seek professional website help because all visitors are bouncing away without clicking on anything.*
  • The Average Session Duration is the average time that your visitors spend reading your website (this gives an indication of the quality of your content and ease of navigation).

*If you have a blog, often your regular readers will visit your website, spend time reading your article, and then “bounce away” so this will make your bounce rate higher.

Know where your web traffic is coming from

By monitoring your Traffic Sources you’ll know where your web traffic comes from, will be able to compare if it goes up or down over time and will be able to measure the impact of your marketing campaigns.

Traffic sources include:

  • Search engines like Google. This includes paid traffic from AdWords and organic traffic generated by your Search Engine Optimisation efforts.
    • In Google Analytics Google organic traffic shows up as ‘Google / organic’ and AdWords traffic shows up as ‘Google / cpc’
  • Direct Traffic  comes from people who type your website address directly into the browser, or have your URL saved as a Bookmark.
  • Referring Websites – This shows how many people clicked through on a link from another website, to yours. For example, if you share a link on your Facebook page, the traffic source will be referral traffic from facebook.com, which will appear in the reports as ‘facebook.com/referral’.
  • Email Campaigns – If you use an email program such as Mail Chimp, by clicking a box to tag your links in Google Analytics you can see how many people clicked through to your website from your email campaign.

Having an increasing number of website visitors who spend time reading your content is a good start for having a successful website.

But, in order to get results, you need those visitors to actually do something.

You need them to act on your Call to Action. For example, by signing up for your e-newsletter, enquiring about your product or service and/or buying your products.  People who take an action are called “conversions”.

Set up Goals to Track your Conversions

Google Analytics allows you to set up “Goals” so that you can track key actions that are important for your business.

The number of sales transactions completed, the number of sign ups and the number of enquiries that you receive are important Goals to track.

These Goals give key information about how well your website actually performs in terms of getting results.  Once you know what percentage of your visitors convert by taking an action, you can make changes with the aim of improving your conversion rate over time.

Keep Track of your Key Statistics Each Month

Track your statistics regularly, for example, monthly, so that you can easily compare if they go up, or down, over time. There are different ways to do this. Personally I use an Excel spreadsheet.

Here’s a recap of some of the stats you can track.

Visitor Statistics:

  • Sessions
  • Users
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Session Duration.

Traffic Sources:

  • Direct Traffic
  • Organic Traffic
  • Referral Traffic
  • Paid Traffic (if you have any)
  • Other Traffic.

Goals achieved. You can also look at the percentage of total visitors that converted by completing a goal. Increasing the percentage of people who convert (the conversion rate), means that your business is getting more value from your web traffic.

Got Questions about Using your Google Analytics Data to Improve your Website?

Feel free to leave a comment below or send an enquiry via the Contact page.

About Melinda
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.