…life is about taking action, and if your work is not driving action, you need to stop and reboot…hits and pageviews don’t mean anything except that someone came to your site and consumed some content…metrics are a dime a dozen, so how do you know which ones to use? They should have the following four attributes…
- Uncomplex – If you want action, everyone involved in the decision-making must easily comprehend performance.
- Relevant – they must be measuring the success objectives that are unique to you and your website.
- Timely – Even the greatest metric in the world is useless if it takes nine days while your world changes every three days.
- Instantly Useful – you need to be able to find insights as soon as you look at it.
-Avinash Kaushik (@avinash), Web Analytics 2.0
Your business is different than everyone else’s, so why would you look at the same measurements of success as everyone else? Everyone looks at visitors to their site, but what does that tell you about how your business is doing? If you sell a high-end product and the only people coming to your site are those looking for a cheap solution, it doesn’t matter how far up and to the right that blue line goes for visitors, your business isn’t growing. You want to look at the metrics that will tell you if you are progressing with growth. That’s why the most important step you can take toward success is identifying the metrics that will tell you if what you really want to happen for your business is happening or not.
What actions do you need your customers in order to achieve the site outcomes you desire? Do they need to consume more content? Do more of them need to make it to your product detail pages instead of bouncing off your home page? Do you need to increase visitors from a certain website that sends high-converting traffic? Do you need more conversions from PPC traffic? What needs to happen on your site to get your business to where you want it to be? Once you’ve got this down, you can now find out what metric will tell you if it’s happening or not.
If I need visitors to consume more content so that they can learn about how my product or service benefits them, my metrics for success might be Time on Site or Pageviews/Visit. If more visitors need to make it to my product detail pages, I might make Product Detail Page Entrances on my site my chosen metric and ramp up my PPC and SEO to those pages. If I need more conversions from PPC, I might use clicks and conversion rate as my primary metrics. Bottom line: what you spend your time looking at and trying to improve should align with the outcomes that will grow your business.