Website Health KPIs for Business Success
Every business needs to continuously know how it is doing from its customer’s perspective and financially. This knowledge is essential for ensuring it keeps doing the right things to thrive. That’s the idea behind exit surveys, customer feedback forms, suggestion boxes, and other feedback devices. Without feedback from the customer and monitoring inventory, expenses, revenue, and other benchmarks, a business can go from thriving to dying without the owner ever seeing it coming or having the opportunity to stop the decline.
The company’s website can also provide critical business health information to the business owner. There are a variety of traffic-related or server performance-related things that should be monitored on a website. Here are ten of the essential website health factors to monitor:
Traffic totals. You want to know how much traffic the website is generating. You will want to check your Google Analytics account under Audience > Overview. If the line on the graph that displays traffic is heading down, you know you have to find out why. The period of decline to be concerned about is relative to the type of business. Looking at the trend over the course of a month may be sufficient for many companies, but others may need to focus on periods as small as a few hours or a week.
Referrers. It’s not enough just to know how many visitors you are getting; you need to know where they are coming from. You will want to check your Google Analytics account under Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals to see the top sources. Clicking on the source will reveal the page(s) to which the referral source is sending traffic. For example, suppose you find that you are getting a lot of visitors from a Thanksgiving site to your Thanksgiving Happiness article. In that case, you will want to focus on getting more links from other Thanksgiving sites. Another example would be discovering that your LinkedIn campaign is driving a great deal of traffic to your home page. In that case, you will want to keep up your social media activity on LinkedIn. These insights provide valuable information that you can act on to get even better results from your top referral sources.
Searches. While Google has made it challenging to know about searches that brought visitors to your site, you can still find a little helpful information. You will want to check your Google Analytics account under Acquisition > Overview. There you will see which channels are bringing you the most traffic. Clicking on Organic Search will provide some details about the search terms. You can also find out search details in Google Search Console under Performance > Search Results. You may be surprised about the amount of traffic you are getting from some of your long-tail keywords or even more generic, competitive search terms. Regularly reviewing this information will allow you to properly optimize the page if you haven’t done so already, so you can get even more traffic.
Pages viewed per visit. If people visit only one page per visit, you have some work to convince them to visit more pages, like those making you money. You will want to check your Google Analytics account under Audience > Overview to see your Pages/Session numbers. Ideally, you want this number to be more than 2.
Pages visited. Understanding what pages your visitors are viewing is critical for content optimization and development. You will want to check your Google Analytics account under Behavior > Site Content and Behavior flow to learn which landing pages are bringing visitors in, which pages lead them to leave, how they navigate through your site, and how your content is doing overall. Suppose you put up a cool new feature on your site as an add-on, like a calculator or other helpful tool. Now other websites are linking to it and sending a lot of traffic your way. This gives you the opportunity to add some copy to the page to pull visitors into the rest of your site if they are not moving through your content to convert as you desire.
Forms. The forms on your site generally provide key functionality such as support, lead generation, or sales. Ensuring they are all properly functioning is essential to your user experience and conversions. A good website monitoring service can keep tabs on them for you. The last thing you want is to have lost hundreds or thousands of subscribers or customers because a form stopped functioning.
Shopping carts. Customers expect a seamless buying experience. Slow and complicated shopping carts, which cause uncertainty and abandonment, are responsible for an estimated $25 billion in lost sales. Make sure yours is functioning correctly and well. A good website monitoring service can also alert you to shopping cart issues.
Download speed. Delivering your content quickly is essential for the user experience and meeting Google’s Core Web Vitals standards. Your site speed largely determines whether people stay on your site to convert and how well your site ranks in the search engines. Tools like Gtmetrix and Google Page Speed Insights can help you assess your website’s performance. If your site isn’t performing up to standards, you may need to optimize your images, turn on caching, use a CDN, choose a better theme or plugins, or even move to a better web hosting company.
Server speed. If your tests from Gtmetrix and Google Page Speed Insights indicate there are problems with server speed, you might need to opt for a more centralized server location or use a better web hosting company. Global website monitoring can alert you to transatlantic connection problems so that you can address them with your web hosting service.
Server accessibility. All the web hosts promise 99% accessibility. But is that for real? Who monitors them? By one estimate, 75% of inaccessibility is not on the hosting server but instead on the Internet’s backbone network and global routing. An international website monitoring service can help identify the problem so that you can work with your web hosting company to resolve it before too many sales are lost. If it can’t be fixed, moving to a new hosting company may be necessary.
Keeping an eye on all of these website vitals can provide you with the opportunity to adjust and optimize to maximize your results. Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and website monitoring services can send you regular reports to help you keep an eye on these critical health factors.