8 Important Website Metrics You Should Track (And, Tools You Can Use)

8 Important Website Metrics You Should Track (And, Tools You Can Use)

Website metrics refer to data you can use to monitor the performance of your website. Don’t mistake the term “performance” as simply referring to speed, though. Metrics can help you understand and improve everything from traffic volume to lead conversion.

The biggest challenge today isn’t collecting data – there are many tools capable of doing that automatically.

Choosing the correct data to analyze and understanding how you can use it is the crucial differentiating factor.

The Importance of Website Performance

There are over 1.88 billion websites in the world today, but studies indicate that more than 90% of web pages get no organic traffic. That’s a massive problem from a website owner’s viewpoint since content costs money to produce.

As website owners, we have so many things to focus on that doing work that produces no result is a tragic waste of precious resources.

To further drive home the point of how metrics can help you improve website performance, let’s consider the case of automaker BMW.

By improving mobile site performance, the company increased traffic to their sales site from 8% to 30%. The improvements BMW gained resulted from data-driven enhancements based on website metrics.

If you want to improve your website performance, you’ll need to know what data to track and how it can help.

Key Website Performance Metrics to Watch

Here are what we consider the most important metrics to monitor.

1. Website Traffic

Google analytics audience overview

Website traffic is the singular number about which most new website owners obsess. It represents the fruit of your labor, indicating how many viewers are coming to your website.

This at-a-glance metric is a decent initial indicator of website health – but not necessarily success.

Why Website Traffic Matters

As website traffic increases, it places increasing pressure on web hosting resources like processor time (CPU) and memory (RAM). Over-taxing these resources can lead to erratic website performance like slower page loads or pages simply refusing to load.

How to Track Website Traffic

There are many tools available to track website traffic, but one of the best is Google Analytics. It’s a relatively comprehensive solution that tracks various metrics, including the number of visitors your website sees.

It’s free and pretty easy to implement on any website.

If Google Analytics isn’t your cup of tea, there are other solutions available, including:

2. Time to First Byte

Time to first byte report

Each time a visitor types your domain name into their web browser and hits the enter key, a request goes from the browser to your web server. On receipt, the web server will acknowledge the request with a response.

Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the time between sending that initial request and the browser receiving a response.

Why TTFB Matters

TTFB affects your website in a few ways. Taken at face value, it’s a good indicator as to the quality of your web hosting service provider.

When we purchase a web hosting plan, the information we see is generic.

For example, a web host may advertise the amount of resources available on a hosting plan but not the specifics of their equipment. It’s similar to buying a car without knowing the make or model – simply that it has four wheels and moves.

To reduce TTFB, you’ve got to improve several aspects of your website performance. However, one that’s super important is the server quality. To better your server performance, you’ve got to either upgrade to a better hosting plan or shift to an alternative WordPress hosting provider

Web hosting pricing guide

Based on a detailed web hosting cost comparison, the cost of an entry-level shared hosting is around $3.06/mo, while a more powerful VPS hosting will cost you around $15.47/mo.

How to Check TTFB

Many tools can check server response times and offer a variety of associated data.

They offer varying amounts of information, from the basic to the highly detailed. One tool that provides the latter is WebPageTest, with information on everything from TTFB to complete waterfall charts.

You can also try others like:

3. Uptime

Uptime refers to the amount of time that your website is available to visitors. While we can take website uptime from an application viewpoint, the main focus should be on the web hosting server.

If the hosting server goes down, our websites won’t be accessible.

Why Uptime Matters

The most direct impact of a web hosting server that goes down is the potential impact on earnings. This impact can be extremely harmful on highly commercial websites like eCommerce stores.

Even worse is the potential for reputational damage to your brand.

Studies indicate that as many as 9% of website visitors never return due to not being able to access a website. Some web hosts offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that guarantee minimum uptime percentages to instill customer confidence.

However, converting that into time tells a grimmer story.

The most common uptime guarantee you’ll encounter is 99.9%, which means a potential downtime of more than eight hours a year. If you’re generating a million dollars from your website each year, that downtime represents a possible loss of around $10,000!

How to Track Uptime

Uptime tracking isn’t a “one-off.” Your web hosting server needs consistent testing to ensure it’s responding to requests.

Uptime Robot does this by sending periodic “pings” to note if servers respond. If it doesn’t, the system will alert you to take action.

Other uptime trackers that you can consider:

4. Conversion Rate

Earlier, we discussed website traffic and how it serves and an overall indicator of health. While the overall volume of website visitors means that your content is drawing them in, those numbers don’t directly translate into revenue.

That’s where conversion rates come into play.

Conversion rate is the number of specific actions (typically sales) divided by the total number of website visitors.

For example, a 25% conversion rate means that for every 100 visitors, 25 will be making a purchase.

Why Conversion Rate is Important

Conversion rates serve as a strong indicator of website profitability. Most types of websites have their respective average conversion rates.

Comparing yours can serve as a guideline towards conversion rate optimization.

Optimizing conversion rates helps you get more value from your website visitors with the same hosting resources.

How to Track Conversion Rate

The most straightforward way of tracking conversion rate is with Google Analytics. It enables you to select specific page elements to keep track of, so data gained can be incredibly incisive. It also allows goal settings, so you work towards clear objectives.

Other options for conversion rate tracking and optimization include:

5. Bounce Rate

Google analytics bounce rate

Bounce rate is one way of seeing if your website is sufficiently engaging for visitors.

A “bounce” occurs when a visitor lands on one of your web pages and leaves without further interaction. Essentially, that means only one page is of interest to them.

Why Bounce Rate is Important

High bounce rates can be indicative of some design issues which you may need to address.

For example, web pages with a poorly developed funnel may not effectively channel visitors towards sales pages.

In cases like this, making changes to high bounce rate landing pages can lead to higher conversion rates.

The lower your bounce rate, the better it is in general. While optimal rates hover in the 30% to 40% range, anything less than 56% is acceptable.

How to Track Bounce Rate

There’s good news if you’re already using Google Analytics to track other metrics like website traffic. You’ll find bounce rates automatically tracked there as well. Even better, you can see bounce rates for all individual pages of your website.

There are some alternatives to track bounce rates, though:

6. Session Duration & Average Time on Page

Session duration is the total amount of time a visitor spends on your website. Average time on page is a more broken down version and indicates how long was spent on a specific page.

Both of these numbers are similar and can serve as an indication of content quality.

Why Session Duration and TIme on Page is Important

As a rule of thumb, the longer a visitor dwells on your website or a specific page, the more likely they have found the content helpful or engaging.

The average target duration you should work towards varies by industry, with an average of 52 seconds. If visitors aren’t meeting average time targets, it might be time to revamp the content.

Some ways of doing this include updating the content to ensure it’s relevant to current standards. You can also try extending content length or adding more visual elements to break the monotony of overly long text.

How to Track Session Duration and Time on Page

You can track both of these metrics and more in Google Analytics. However, be aware that unless there’s a sufficient amount of data, it might not accurately represent what users are experiencing.

7. Keyword Rankings

Ahrefs keyword research report

Search engines scour websites for content and rank web pages for presentation to searchers based on keywords.

Effective keyword planning is a big part of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. To make sure you’re ranking for the right words, you need to watch where they sit in relation to the competition.

Why Keyword Ranking is Important

New content is constantly created, and existing versions are improved. Because of this, keyword rankings can change frequently. If you aren’t paying close attention to your keyword ranking, you may one day find yourself puzzled about drops in visitor numbers.

Tracking keywords can also help in other ways.

For example, the information can show what the competition is up to, highlight which of your content pages need more attention, or give you some ideas of what can be improved.

PRO TIP:

If you’re using Google to do topic research, using Virtual Private Network services such as NordVPN can help you bypass search engine bias to see what search results users in other regions are getting.

How to Track Keyword Rankings

One of the most potent tools for keyword rank tracking is Ahrefs. This all-in-one SEO tool includes almost everything you can imagine to help your SEO game. It also has some good value-added features, such as a keyword explorer.

Naturally, there are alternatives to Ahrefs as well, including:

8. Backlinks Analytics

Backlinks are external links that point to pages on your website. These links help search engines gauge the popularity of some content, much like the way votes work in politics.

The more backlinks that point towards a page, the more likely it will rank highly on search results.

Why Backlink Analytics is Important

Building a stream of content often means the risk of losing track of links association is higher. By carrying out backlink analytics, you’ll be able to gauge how well others regard your content.

Yet backlinks analytics is helpful for more than just that.

You can also use backlink analytics to identify poor-quality backlinks that might impact your website negatively. In cases like this, disavowing those backlinks in search engines may improve your overall link profile.

In addition, you can also carry out backlink analysis on competitors. Knowing what sites are linking to them can help you assess the difficulty of ranking higher. It’s also a potential source of link targeting, where you can approach similar sites to plant links.

How to Carry out Backlink Analytics

Here again, we can turn towards comprehensive SEO solutions like Ahrefs. It includes a powerful backlink audit feature that can give you a bird’s eye view of your backlink health.

There are also similar tools as well such as:

Final Thoughts

The website metrics listed here barely scratch the surface of everything that needs to be covered to assess your website performance accurately.

Keep in mind that you should gauge most of the metrics combined with others to give a more contextual picture.

It’s also important to underscore the importance of tracking. Analysis of these metrics isn’t a one-time thing since data changes constantly. Sitting on your laurels following a positive website metric review is one of the worst mistakes you can make.

Make sure you plan for scheduled assessments and use metrics assessment as a means for anticipating future needs as well as the present.

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2 comments

  1. Ricardo de la Rosa Profile Pic
    Ricardo de la Rosa

    Hi Editorial Team,

    First of all, congratulations on this post.
    Excellent article; these are beneficial tools that we can dive into.
    I’m going to put this into use one of these days.
    Great work; I’m sharing this on my Twitter.

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