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3 Critical Website Measures

Sean Parnell - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Every company knows they need a compelling website to stay competitive in the marketplace, but far too many spend little or no time tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of their website and online marketing campaigns. Over the last decade, our experience has taught us that having the answers to 3 basic questions—and knowing what to do with that information—can lay the foundation for higher conversion rates, increased sales and greater ROI on marketing budgets. These answers can be the difference between success and failure.

  1. How many unique visitors does your site get per month?
  2. What are the top 5 pages on your site?
  3. What are the top 5 sources of traffic to your site?

Unique Visitors
This measure is by far the most accurate for determining actual website traffic. Though search engine web crawlers account for a portion of recorded traffic for all sites, this metric is more reliable than counting website "hits." Hits are misleading because every file or graphic that downloads on a page can be recorded as a hit. A graphic-heavy page may be recorded as 100 hits, though it's only being accessed by a single visitor. Similarly, users hitting the back and refresh buttons can be counted repeatedly.

As a result, knowing your site's unique monthly visitors is the best indicator of whether your website traffic is increasing or decreasing. It can also provide accurate cues as to whether your online channel is performing as expected or needs improvement. One Innovaxis client poured thousands into web design, only to find that it averaged one unique visitor per day. If you don't know how to measure unique visitors, contact us and we'll show you at no charge.

Top Five Pages
Knowing the most popular pages on your site directly indicates what content resonates best with visitors and this information can be used to drive sales. For one Innovaxis client, we found that the owner bios were the #1 content accessed instead of several success stories. The led us to conclude that trust, in addition to price, played a crucial role in buying behavior and resulted in changes to their online and offline strategy and we carried this idea through all of their marketing materials.

Your homepage is only the starting point for visitors. Knowing what pages grab their attention can lead to insights into how your entire site should be structured and improved. Contact us to learn more.

Top Five Referring Websites
If you are advertising on third-party websites, they likely report eye-popping numbers for ad "impressions" (often misleading) and click-through rates for your banner or text ads. Verification is key. One Innovaxis client was told by an advertising site that their ad received over 30,000 impressions and several hundred click-throughs. However, our client's own statistics indicated there were less than 20 click-throughs and no measurable impact on sales. Innovaxis then recommended reallocating advertising money to targeted, higher traffic sites which had a positive impact on sales.

Reviewing and understanding the top five sources of site traffic can lead to more productive business relationships and reveal sites/networks that offer similar opportunities.

Conclusion

Key Ideas

  • Your website traffic reveals its real value
  • Focus on unique visitors instead of hits
  • Monitor web traffic weekly for changes
  • Online ad ROI = referral traffic

If you need help leveraging site analytics or are unhappy with what you find, contact us and we'll get your website and overall marketing strategy back on track.