3 Ways to Measure Website Success

Roy McClean
May 09, 2012
3 Ways to Measure Website Success

How do you actually measure whether your website is working? Here are 3 things that you can track to see if your website is meeting your online and overall business objectives.

Click Stream Web Analytics

First, you need to have a web / digital analytics application installed on your website. Think free or low cost tools like Google Analytics, or Woopra or more expensive and powerful tools if you have a (much) bigger budget like Adobe Analytics or Google's Analytics Premium.

Click steam data for these tools refers to the record of activity on the Internet a visitor leaves when browsing your website. Click stream data measures data for the website and each web page visited including valuable information such as how long the visitor was on your website or page, how they got there (e.g. what keywords or which website or search engine did they arrive from, etc.), and what they did (e.g. subscribed to your email newsletter, bought something, etc.)

Measure Online Behaviour

  • Example - Bounce Rate
  • Noted web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik defines a 'web bounce' as 'they came to your website, they puked, and left'. Obviously, the lower the bounce rate the better. If people are leaving your website quickly either your website needs some work and/or the wrong type of people are getting to your site. Click stream analytics offer the ability to measure this.

Measure Online Outcomes

  • Example - Conversions & Conversion Rates
    What is a website conversion? This is usually fairly easy to configure with click stream tools. It really depends on the type of website you have and it's purpose. If you are selling blue widgets the ultimate conversion would probably be selling blue widgets. The more sales the better and the higher your conversion rate (visitors / sales) the better. However, conversions can also can include the number of people who subscribed to your email newsletter, downloaded a whitepaper, left comments on your blog, etc. The goal is to define meaningful conversions for your website and business then measure conversions and conversion rates. The goal is to typically increase the number of conversions and improve the conversion rate(s).

Beyond Click Stream Measurement

Measure the Visitor 'Experience'

  • Example - Actually Ask "Did You Find What You Were Looking For?"
    Click stream data can offer great insight into WHAT people did when they visited your website. However, click stream data doesn't get at WHY they left your website so quickly, for example, or why they bought your blue widget. Research can fill in the missing "WHY?" blanks. How? Use an online survey tool like KISSinsights or SurveyMonkey embedded with your website. If you collect client lists you can even arrange to talk to real people. Yes, actually dealing with your website visitors face-to-face in-person, over the phone or in an online meeting is possible. After all, website visitors are actual people... not just mouse-clicks!

By measuring visitor behaviour, online outcomes and the actual visitor experience you then have the power to really determine whether your website is working.... or not.

P.S. There are many, many other important metrics that you can provide useful insight into your website's performance. Check out the aforementioned Avinash Kaushik's blog post on "Super Lame vs Super Awesome Web Metrics" for some more ideas on determining your website's performance levels.

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