Remember when being tech-savvy was optional? Oh, yesteryear. Now everyone is expected to be pseudo garage engineers with the quantitative analysis skills of a light MBA. But when it comes to your website, tracking return on investment and overall effectiveness comes down to setting and measuring goals. So we can come out of our garages and classrooms and check out these website measurement parameters.
Wait. Before we get into the measurement tactics, let’s discuss how to collect the data. Whenever you create a new site, connect a Google Analytics account. Though web platforms have their own analytics feature, Google Analytics obviously favours itself and its products (like AdWords), and therefore understanding their measurement is important as Google plays a kinda huge factor in your website’s success.
No more waiting, onto the nitty-numbery:
WHAT TO MEASURE
Your site should be your number one employee: constantly working, bringing in leads hot, and you don’t have to look at recital videos of its kids. In order to optimize your site’s performance, you should be setting key goals and tracking against them. Let’s use our site for example, we have a goal to generate “XX contacts this month” through our “gated content,” like this one “How To Develop Buyer Personas For The Digital And Physical World.”
When someone visits our site, fills out a form, and therefore becomes a contact/lead, it’s called a “conversion.” Measuring your site’s effectiveness comes down to how you want to track conversions. Or maybe you just want to track website traffic, but does website traffic have any bottom-line meaning to your business? Perhaps not. But in order for your site to have conversions, it does need to have valuable traffic (aka potential customers). So step 1 in measurement is determining an SEO measurement strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO), is the act of making a website perfectly packaged so when someone searches for it on Google (and Yahoo, Bing...yada yada), Google can easily find the site and display it on its first page. This matters because when’s the last time you ventured onto the ominous second page?
It’s no secret that SEO is important, so how do we measure and track a site’s performance? By using SEO tools. Search engines take many factors into consideration when determining which websites to display. There are a multitude of on-page (what’s on your website) and off-page (links leading into your site, site authority, quality…) factors that determine rank (HubSpot explains in this science-y infographic).
HOW SEARCH ENGINES INTERPRET SEO
So how are search engines ranking your website? HubSpot has also provided a comprehensive list of tools, so we’re not going to redo the work, just link to “The Top 12 SEO Tools of 2018.” These tools will help measure those on and off-page ranking factors, so you can check out how your site is ranking, document the baselines, and determine a strategy for improvement. This can be a full-time job (or department), so it can lean to the overwhelming side. You can learn more about it here, or contact us and let’s have a chat.
The great thing about SEO is that there are many ways to improve it for any website. Even sites with strong SEO need to keep their game up in order to hold their place. Whatever happened to resting on laurels? Never a thing? Okay great. How to create content and design your page so that it’s optimized for SEO is an entire other can of worms (but like cute fun tasty gummy worms and this metaphor is falling apart quick). Ultimately, you want to bring in high-quality traffic to your site from as many sources possible and convert and measure them in a way that makes sense for your company.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAFFIC
Traffic comes in all shapes and sizes and we love them all equally, but understanding the different types of traffic will also be important to learning how to improve results.
This chart is how we measure sessions (traffic), contacts (one form of conversions), and customers (another form of conversions). This chart, generated by the marketing platform we use (HubSpot) also includes conversions rates. Conversion rates illustrate how effective our efforts are (they differ by industry).
Before you go, let’s just define the different types of traffic on the left side of the chart.
Paid = When people visit your site via a sponsored/paid ad (Google AdWords as mentioned above)
Direct = When people type in the actual website into the address bar
Organic = When people visit your site via a search engine
Referrals = When people visit your site via a different site
Social media = When people visit your site via social (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter…)
Paid social media = When people visit your site via paid ads on social
Email marketing = When people visit your site linked through an email
Offline = When people become a contact or customer but through non-trackable sources (phone call, direct email, in-person…)
When we go knee-deep in traffic types it’s evident that there isn’t a clear dissociation among each source. So someone might have seen an ad for a company online, but then typed their web address and appeared as “direct traffic.” But once again that is a whole other can of nonsensical analogical worms.
So is your site just getting traffic, or is it getting back-to-back employee of the month awards? Our team helps guide these goals, so if you want to start raking in them conversions….