How to Measure Your Website’s Performance: Best Metrics & KPIs

by in Strategy

How is your website doing? It is remarkable how many organizations cannot answer this simple question. Many months, sometimes even years pass after the launch of a new website, and it is still unclear how well (or how badly) the website is performing and nobody seems to be able to put a value on it. The truth is, they simply don’t know. They can’t know, because they aren’t measuring.

Measuring Your Website’s Performance

Measuring your website’s performance can be tricky. In order to fully appreciate the process, you have to understand specifically what you are measuring, why you are measuring it and what you can learn from the measurements to improve your website’s performance.  

This article will teach you how to measure not only the successes of your website, but also the failures so you can continually improve and work toward reaching your business objectives.

You improve your website by measuring its failures, not just its successes

What to Measure? Your Website’s Goal!

It goes without saying, you can’t measure if you don’t know what to measure. What is your website’s goal? Do you have one?

I recommend using the SMART model for setting website goals. The “M” in SMART stands for “Measurable”. The discipline is to measure website performance to keep you on track toward business objectives.

Without a goal, chances are good that your website is already failing, you just don’t know it yet. If you are short on time, pick one from these website goal examples that is the best fit for your business needs.

Beware of Vanity Metrics

In my experience, I’ve seen most people rely on default information obtained from website traffic reports to benchmark their website. They look at the number of visitors to the website or the number of leads the website has generated and they stop there. If the numbers are growing, stakeholders are happy and believe: “Our website is doing really well!”

Traffic is up, but what does this tell you about your business performance

But what do these figures really tell us? Traffic growth is good but are you getting the right type of visitors? Leads are certainly good, but are you getting the right type of qualified leads? The problem is that these metrics don’t accurately represent the effectiveness of your website when it comes to reaching specific business objectives.

KPIs Are Your Best Friends

Companies have been using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for years to evaluate and measure their projects’ successes and failures. While any given organization typically has access to great amounts of data, the “Key” in Key Performance Indicators references the area of greatest importance to the organization—the data that provides an analysis of the big picture.

A KPI is a business metric used to evaluate a factor that is crucial to the success of an organization

Most professionals in the web design and development industry refer to website statistics as metrics or dimensions, but for reasons mentioned above, I prefer to focus on KPIs – metrics that matter. With modern website reporting and analytics tools, we are often confused by the wide variety of reports offered. While it may be interesting to learn characteristics about your website’s visitors, this wealth of information is most likely irrelevant. By immersing yourself in dozens of unimportant reports, you lose focus on the key factors. It’s like doing a brain scan of a patient with a broken leg—it is irrelevant.

To continue with the medical analogy, think of KPIs as the vitals of your website. It’s the pulse, temperature and blood pressure that will help determine whether your website is “healthy” or needs emergency medical attention. If you measure the right vitals, you can quickly determine whether or not your website is on track to meet your business objectives.

What Should Be Measured

The key is to look at the appropriate KPIs. If your website objective is to increase total number of leads, you obviously want to know the number of leads your website has generated; however, that number only works in relation to the number of visitors to the website and only for a specific duration of time.

A much better indicator of the website’s marketing (and sales) performance is the conversion rate (which measures a website’s ability to persuade visitors to take a desired action). For lead generation, this metric represents the website’s ability to convert visitors into leads or customers. The higher the conversion rate, the better the website is performing; and conversely, the lower the percentage, the worse the performance. If you make changes to the website, changes to the conversion rate will tell you if it is performing in conjunction with your expectations, while all other factors remain the same.

Conversion rate - a metric that quantifies a website's ability to persuade visitors to take a desired action

Just as an irregular blood pressure reading may be an indication of a heart problem, a low conversion rate may be an indicator (or forewarning) that your website will not reach its sales and marketing objectives.

Focus on Quality Not Just Quantity

Your conversion rate is not the only important metric for measuring your website’s marketing performance. You should also evaluate the quality of leads the website generates. Are all leads a good match for your company? Here at Intechnic, we determined that our best customers are from certain industries and companies with a certain annual revenue. If a lead meets that criteria, we call it an MQL or a Marketing Qualified Lead. Once sales validates that they are a good match, we upgrade the lead to an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Measuring MQLs and SQLs allows us not only to measure the quantity of leads, but also the quality of these leads.

Which lead would you rather have - any lead or a qualified lead

While, initially, all this information can seem overwhelming and intimidating, the key is to focus on the 5-10 KPIs that make the greatest difference.

Which Tools Should You Use

The tools you should use depend on what you are measuring to match your SMART goals. The web analytics marketplace is crowded, with dozens of products; however, we recommend you use Google Analytics for all websites. If you are not familiar with how to set up or use Google Analytics, take a look at our article, Google Analytics 101: How to Set It Up and Get Started. Google Analytics is a great starting point for any website and, when properly configured, can provide very valuable information.

Free Whitepaper   Google Analytics 101  Learn to measure your website’s performance  DOWNLOAD

We also recommend a number of other tools to measure specific objectives. Take a look at the following recommendations based on the goal type: tools to measure conversions, tools to measure user experience and tools to survey users for feedback.

What to Measure and How to Measure It

We talked about measuring your conversion rate as one example of a metric for websites focusing on sales and lead gen. However, there are many more. Let’s look at some other metrics depending on the SMART website goals you set:

Website Goals

What to Measure

How to Measure It

Marketing Goals

Generate More Qualified Leads


Improve Lead Conversion Rate

  • Conversion Rate

Google Analytics (Goal Rate)

  • Number of Leads

Google Analytics (Completed Goals);CRM (Lead count)

  • Lead Quality &Sales Closing Rate

CRM (qualify and/or score leads as Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads)

Increase Awareness

  • Awareness Level

Survey users before and after website redesign: Survey Monkey and Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) or other feedback tools

Sales Goals

Generate More Sales


Improve Sales Conversion Rate

  • Sales Conversion Rate

Google Analytics (Goal Rate)

  • Number of Purchases

Google Analytics (Completed Goals)

  • Revenue

Google Analytics (E-commerce: Revenue)

  • Average Order Amount

Google Analytics (E-commerce: Average Order Amount)

  • Product Performance

Google Analytics (E-commerce: Product Performance)

Improve Sales Support

  • Sales Closing Rate

CRM (leads to closing ratio)

  • Sales Team Satisfaction

Survey sales team before and after website redesign: Survey Monkey

Customer Satisfaction Goals

Improve Customer Satisfaction

  • User Satisfaction

Survey users before and after website redesign: Survey Monkey  or other feedback tools

Reduce Time to Complete a Task

  • Time to Complete Task

Usability Testing Tools (recorded user sessions)


Google Analytics (Time Spent, Events) – Time spent on a page; event triggers to time events

Webmaster Goals

Improve Webmaster / Content Contributor Satisfaction

  • User Satisfaction

Survey users before and after website redesign: Survey Monkey

  • Time to Complete Task

Usability Testing Tools (recorded user sessions)


Google Analytics (Time Spent, Events) – Time spent on a page; event triggers to time events

IT Goals

Reduce Website Management Costs

  • Maintenance Costs

Accounting or Timesheets (money or time spent on website maintenance)

Operations Goals

Optimize Workflow Automation

  • Operational Costs

Accounting or Timesheets (money or time spent on various operations)

HR Goals

Increase Employment Applications

  • Number of Applications

ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

Improve Employee Satisfaction

  • Employee Satisfaction

Survey employees before and after website redesign: Survey Monkey or other feedback tools

Executives

Maximize ROI

  • ROI (Return on Investment)

Revenue/Savings from the website minus investment into the website

How to Measure the Immeasurable

I’ve heard customers say, “Our website objectives can’t be measured.” I always reply, “All business objectives can be measured; we are only limited by our thinking.” If you are willing to think outside the box, you can creatively find a way to measure ANY website objective.

If you believe you have a goal that you can’t measure, download my eBook for examples and recommendations on dealing with the “immeasurable” goals.

Next post: How to Set up Google Analytics: Getting Started

Free Whitepaper   Google Analytics 101  Learn to measure your website’s performance  DOWNLOAD