Young woman viewing multiple screens of analytics
In the early stages of a website design project with our clients, we prepare a Foundations Document. This document helps a take a long, hard look at what their website is currently doing (baselines) and what needs to change to better support their business (goals).

Since there is so much data available about website performance, it can be difficult to know where to start with choosing the data baselines they’ll want to track later on to determine website success. As you can imagine, we have answered lots of questions about this over the years. In this post, we compiled the top analytics measures we review on our website, as well as those we recommend to clients depending on their goals.

Website performance does not exist in a vacuum. All marketing efforts—such as social media marketing, paid digital ads, traditional marketing methods, and so on—intersect and overlap with one another. Each effort affects the success of the others.

How are people finding your website? 

In the 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing report from DemandWave, organic search accounted for 70% of lead generation for B2B marketers.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a good measure of your website performance is how users find your site, called sources. If your website content is informational, optimized for the web, and contains appropriate topics in the form of keywords, then an organic search is likely to be a high driver of traffic to your website. Creating new website content regularly, such as blog articles, can increase your organic search volume over time, driving more traffic to your website.

What pages on your site have the highest amount of entries?

Related to traffic source, the website entries metric is another good indicator of how your website is performing. Many marketers make the mistake of focusing on the homepage as the main entry point for website users, but this isn’t always the case. Users may enter your site from a product page, a downloadable offer, or even your contact page based on their search terms or your other marketing promotions. Once you have found the pages with the highest rate of entry on your website, evaluate the bounce rate and time spent on the page to determine if you should reconsider the content on those pages. Even then, a high bounce rate may not be an indicator of poor page performance.
#ProTip: Bounce rates aren’t always bad. For example, a user enters your website via the Contact page in search of your phone number, then immediately bounces after finding the phone number. Even with a higher bounce rate, the Contact page has succeeded in giving the user what they needed. 

Which pages have the highest exit rates?

One great way to audit your website performance is to take a look at the pages with the highest exit rates. The exit rate tracks the rate at which users are leaving your website for each page. Some pages might be expected to have higher exit rates (think: the contact information example from above), but if you see high-level landing pages or main navigation pages with high exit rates, it might be time to reconsider the content, CTAs, and keywords on those pages.
#ProTip: High exit rates aren’t always a cause for alarm, but if you’re seeing high exit totals on conversion landing pages, like downloadable offer forms, you’ll definitely want to rethink those pages. 

What does mobile traffic look like on YOUR website?

You don’t have to work at a web design agency to know that mobile web traffic is increasing all the time. As a general rule, mobile browsing is a huge piece of the internet pie, but that doesn’t mean the majority of your website users are on mobile devices. With our clients, we find that a business-to-business website often has more desktop traffic and less mobile traffic. Why? When you’re researching a software solution for your business, you’re usually at work on your laptop or desktop computer. However, with business-to-consumer (B2C) clients, their users are often surfing the web or reading emails on mobile devices. Don’t make assumptions about your online audience when it’s so easy to know what they’re really up to (for free with a tool like Google Analytics).

What do users need to do on your website to meet your overall business goals? 

I saved the best for last: one of the most critical metrics for website performance is conversion rate. Conversions on your website are the actions you want visitors to take that lead them down the buyer’s journey to becoming a customer. In many cases, a low conversion rate is an indicator of a poor performing landing page. For example, if a hospital website includes an online form to request an appointment and the conversion rate is low, that means potential patients (leads) are being lost right at the conversion point (submitting the form). Options to improve conversion rates might include reducing the number of form fields required, designing a better layout and flow for the page, or preparing the user for how much information they’ll need to complete the form before opening the page.

The more website visitors that convert into leads, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be, though it is not always that straightforward. Ideally, a portion of these leads will convert into sales, and you’ll even be able to calculate the monetary value of those website leads for your company.

Getting started with website analytics

We’ve barely scratched the surface of website metrics and analysis for website success, but you can see how the basic data points don’t always tell the whole story. When you’re considering which baseline metrics to collect to build your website performance goals and benchmarks, it is easy to see how that process can get complicated very quickly. Feeling overwhelmed?
Let’s talk about how your website is performing
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