So you've built the most beautiful website in your industry. With the partnership of a WordPress web design agency, you've set up an online presence to be proud of, aiming to highlight your services and engage your users. Now comes the tricky part: will it actually help to grow your revenue and business?
The tricky truth is that, without the right analytics and measurement strategy, you'll never know the answer. Even beautiful websites don't always attract, engage, and convert users at even industry average rates. The only way to find out, to truly test the success of your WordPress website design, is to make it a habit to track its success.
That sounds complicated. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be. You just need to know how you can track success on WordPress, and then build reports that focus on the right metrics to provide real, actionable insights. This post will help you do both.
How to Track Success on Your WordPress Site
The most common way to track your quantitative is through Google Analytics. Once installed, it provides comprehensive access to a wide range of reports, dashboards, and audience insights.
If you've worked with a partner on the web design, simply asking them about the Google Analytics install might be all you need. If you're on your own, this tutorial comprehensively walks through the process of marrying the two platforms and measuring the traffic and behaviours on your site.
The 9 Top KPI's to Optimise Your WordPress Website Design
Figuring out the how, of course, can only be the beginning. You also need to know, especially in a comprehensive solution like Google Analytics, exactly what to track. While all available metrics have at least some value, these 9 tend to be the most insightful key performance indicators in allowing you to take action and improve your web presence over time.
1. Total and Unique Web Visits/Sessions
Let's get the easy one out of the way: Page visits (sometimes referred to as sessions) tell you how many people visit your website in a given time. Tracking this top-level metric over time, and especially comparing different time periods, allows you to benchmark how it's performing over time and whether you need to make any changes.
There are two important caveats for website owners and marketers to keep in mind, though:
- Unique page visits are a separate metric, and might be even more important/relevant. The same user visiting your page 3 times counts as 3 page views, but only one unique view.
- Devices matter for unique page visits. Using the example above, the same visitor using three separate devices for each visit will count as three unique views.
2. Return Visitor Percentage
One level down from total page views is your return visitor rate, which (as the name suggests) tracks just how many of your users liked the website enough that they came back. A high return visitor percentage is a good thing. It suggests that your site and its content is relevant enough for your audience to keep coming back.
Beyond tracking this rate for the entire website, you can also take it down in nuance. The return visitor percentage of individual pages, like your pricing page or new blog posts published through WordPress, are especially relevant to track high-intent users who are likely to become customers.
3. Traffic Sources
Do you know how visitors get to your website? Most analytics platforms track traffic sources, which tell you just that. Those sources, in turn, can provide you with a wide range of insights:
- High visitor percentages from organic search suggest that your SEO strategy is working.
- High visitor percentages from social media means your tactics on those channels are effective, and your content is shared widely.
- High direct traffic means your offline and awareness marketing is good enough to prompt users to enter your website's URL directly into their browser.
- High referrals suggest your website's content being shared frequently on other websites, a boon for SEO and awareness.
Keep in mind that you can use this metric as a qualifier for any of the other KPIs mentioned here, as well. Filtering your bounce rate, session duration, or conversion rate through the traffic source gives you deeper insight into the success and connection of these sources to your website.
4. Bounce Rate (Page-Specific and Site-Wide)
Your bounce rate is as simple as it's important: it measures the percentage of users that leave (or 'bounce') after only viewing the page at which they first arrive. That applies to the majority of visitors; a typical bounce rate is typically between 50 and 60 per cent. Still, it pays to optimise your web design against it.
Your bounce rate can be tracked for both your website as a whole and individual pages. The latter is especially relevant, allowing you to make simple optimisations within WordPress should it go beyond your benchmark. Site speed is a major component, so compressing images, reducing plug ins, and simplifying the code can all lead to a lower, more attractive bounce rate.
5. Exit Rate and Top Exit Pages
Don't confuse the bounce rate with its close relative, the exit rate. This KPI, tracked on a page level, helps you understand exactly how many of your page visitors leave your website from that page.
Unlike bounce rate, that's not necessarily a bad thing. On a conversion page, you might lead your audience to call your business or enter a third-party payment system. That's technically an exit, but one that actually drives new business.
Still, this metric helps you gain a better grip of your user journey. Learn about your top exit pages, and make design optimisations to ensure they line up with what you want your users to do.
6. Average Session Duration
Just how long do your visitors stay on your website once they get there? That's what this KPI intends to tell you. It's an estimate, but it's still valuable in helping you determine whether your website is easy to navigate, has good UX, and contains what your audience is looking for.
Different industries tend to have different session durations, so benchmarking this metric is key. If yours is shorter than average, adding more engaging content and building a more natural duration path may help you increase it again.
7. Conversion Rate (Tracked by Conversion Type)
Naturally, you want your audience to use your website in order to move towards becoming customers. They likely get there in a few major steps, typically called conversions. Tracking your conversion rate, as a result, helps you determine exactly how well your site is performing in actually gaining customers.
It's important, however, to distinguish between the different types of conversions you should track. The three major categories here include:
- Micro conversions, which are general indicators of a user's interest. This might include visiting your pricing page, or spending more than three minutes on your website at a time.
- Lead conversions, or the number of visitors filling out a form to learn more. While they might not be ready to buy yet, they can now enter more targeted marketing streams.
- Customer conversions, which you can likely only track if you sell your product or service through your website. Still, they're the most valuable conversion type to track your ROI.
Keep a close eye on your conversion rate across these three categories. If a specific page or traffic source performs especially well, it's worth prioritising.
8. User Demographics
Your analytics platform can actually tell you quite a bit about the audience visiting your website. Through browser data, you can learn information like age range, geographic information, and the device type used to access your online presence. Turn it into a KPI by using it both as a check against your marketing efforts and as a qualifier for your other tracking metrics.
The first is simple. Your visitor demographics should line up with the audience you've defined as your target, your most likely customers. If it doesn't, tweaks are necessary. But you can also analyze your conversion rate, session duration, etc. through the lens of these demographics, helping you understand just what segment of your target audience most successfully navigates your website.
9. Blog Engagements and Link Sharing
Websites built on WordPress have the advantage of a built-in, powerful blogging platform. Publishing a regular blog has significant business benefits. That's why the final KPI we'll discuss focuses specifically on tracking the success of your WordPress blog.
It's actually a performance indicator made up of a few different metrics:
- Comments on your posts
- Shares of your posts
- Scroll depth, or how far your audience actually reads
- Referrals to your posts from other websites, indicating indirect link shares.
Combine them, and you get a comprehensive overview of your blog posts' performance. You can in turn use that overview to make decisions about what type of content your audience likes to read, and what attracts them to your website (and business) to begin with.
What Comes Next: Using Website Metrics for Tangible Web Design Improvements
All of the above metrics are important KPIs to understand whether your website is functioning as it should to attract new users and eventual customers. But of course, tracking and understanding them is only the beginning. In addition, you need to leverage them to actually improve your WordPress web design.
That can be admittedly difficult. It's too easy to get lost in the mass of numbers within a solution like Google Analytics. Fortunately, you're not on your own. A reliable web design partner, especially one with expertise in WordPress, can help you not just track and understand the metrics, but convert them into tangible improvements for your online presence. If you're ready to take that step, contact us to learn more.