Your website is arguably the most valuable sales tool you have and understanding its performance as a lead generation and sales tool is essential.
In this blog post, we take a look at how to measure website performance, which metrics to focus on and how to take your online sales revenue to the next level.
- Why You Should Consistently Measure Website Performance
- How To Measure Sales Performance Over Time
- Free Website Analytics Tools & Templates
- Free Website Sales Tracking Tools
- Website Performance Metrics Every Business Needs to Track
- Essential eCommerce KPIs
- Assessing Performance Over Time
Why You Should Consistently Measure Website Performance
Every eCommerce website owner should be aware of how their website performs over time. Tracking metrics like page load speeds might not sound like a big priority, but even a one-second delay could cost your business up to $2.5million in lost sales every year.
A sudden increase in bounce rate (the percentage of single-page visits) often signals a drop in conversions.
Receiving far fewer visits to a campaign landing page than anticipated indicates that your marketing strategy may require tweaking. You should aim to identify and resolve issues like this before they impact your bottom line.
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How To Measure Sales Performance Over Time
The best way to measure website sales performance is to install an analytics platform. Free platforms like Google Analytics (GA), Yandex Metrica, Bing Analytics, Clicky, plug into your website and provide a dashboard view of key metrics. You can control which data you see and download reports to share with your executive team and board members.
Free Website Analytics Tools & Templates
The most popular and well-known website analytics tool is, of course, GA. It is free to install and compatible with almost all content management systems. Alternative and complementary analytics tools include Quantcast Measure, which provides custom audience insights via an easy-to-understand dashboard, and Similarweb, which gives you valuable performance benchmarking data. All of these tools have premium package options available, but the free solutions may well be sufficient for your requirements.
Free Analytics Report Templates
A free analytics report template can make keeping track of your website’s performance much easier! Digital marketing expert Neil Patel has compiled a very helpful list of twelve free website analytics report templates that we recommend you check out. All of the tools on the list will come in handy, but we particularly like Search Engine Watch’s pre-made browser report – it’s a great way to get enhanced website visitor insights without tons of effort.
Google’s Data Studio suite is also fantastic for turning your analytics data into easy to follow website sales and marketing reports. It seamlessly connects with Google Analytics and Google Search Console (another highly useful analytical tool, but for ranking within Google’s search results pages) with only a few button clicks.
Data Studio includes a number of pre-made sales and marketing report templates you can use straight out of the box, but you can also find great reports by Whole Whale and Canonicalized, SuperMetrics, and more than fifty report templates gathered by Sheets for Marketers.
Free Website Sales Tracking Tools
You spend considerable energy and resources on your online marketing strategy. Take a few simple steps to set up website sales tracking, and you’ll see the impact all of that hard work is having on lead generation and revenue. Google Analytics is the most powerful free website sales tracking tool available, and arguably the only one you need to get started. We recommend setting up basic Google Analytics dashboards first and then implementing custom tracking filters for greater insight into different areas.
There are a number of other great paid website sales tracking tools we’d also recommend for businesses looking to graduate from Google Analytics, including:
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Free Sales Report Templates
Pipedrive provides you with free sales performance report templates based on a simple spreadsheet set up. It is a good alternative to a traditional CRM system for smaller businesses who need an easy way to monitor sales performance over time.
Piktochart provides you with stylish and attention-grabbing report templates that are sure to wow your investors and board members.
Hubspot’s CRM internal reporting is also easy to use.
The Overall Website Performance Metrics Every Business Needs to Track
While there are hundreds of KPIs you could use to measure the success of your website, tracking these metrics will truly help you to understand where the most vital and urgent performance improvements can be made.
Page Loading Speeds
According to Google, any page that takes longer than one second to load will cause users to start losing focus, resulting in fewer sales and poorer conversion rates. Current best practice guidelines recommend that pages take no longer than half a second to load.
Our friends at Crazy Egg have a fantastic twenty-point guide to improving page speed, there are some clever web server speed packages by Google for website developers, some additional essential recommendations (such as using Expires headers), some deeper Web Developer-centric page speed explanations by WordPress-hosting company Kinsta, and we really like the WordPress site optimisation guide by Jon Henshaw of Coywolf.
When testing page speeds make sure to test multiple pages and not just your home page as your key money pages will perform differently to your home page — and also use more than one page speed testing tool as they’ll all test different things in different ways.
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool
- Google’s Lighthouse tool
If you’re not familiar with Google Lighthouse and have some programming knowledge then the “SEO guide to the Google Lighthouse Tool” is a brilliant exploration of the tool.
Top Traffic Sources
Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you to identify which affiliates are providing the best ROI, whether social networks are actually referring significant traffic to your site (particularly important if you are paying for social media advertising) and whether your email marketing campaigns are driving click-throughs, among other key insights.
You can use Google Analytics or your analytics software of choice to track these different sources of traffic.
It’s important that you tailor your content to suit the best type of traffic for your website. If your Social traffic converts the highest then, presuming that most social traffic is on a mobile device, make sure to optimise your mobile experience to these users. If Paid Search traffic converts best for you, then ensure that the experience for paid website visitors is concise and your message highly fine-tuned as paid traffic users are the most likely to leave a page if the page doesn’t match their expectations (unlike Organic traffic which is usually more qualified).
Percentage of New/Return Visitors
Understanding the split between new and returning visitors is a crucial first step in defining in helping you to define customer retention/acquisition strategies.
Analysing your New and Returning visitor’s behaviour on your website (made possible with Google Analytics, but also through click and scroll map recording tools like HotJar) can help you to find which parts of your important money pages lack definition or don’t communicate your USPs and CTAs well.
Finding these conversion blockers and removing them should lead to higher conversions, but may also lead to an increase in returning visitors.
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Most Visited Pages
Every website has key landing pages that are among its most visited, either because those pages rank highly in the SERPs for valuable keywords, or because they host your most popular products and services. Exposure Ninja can suggest ways to maximise the performance of your landing pages and improve conversion rate, following your free website review. Alternatively, you
Finding your most visited pages in Google Analytics is easy thanks to the default menu options (shown in the video below).
Average Session Duration, Percentage of Page Content Read and Average Time on Page
These three metrics combined tell a compelling story of how engaged visitors are with the content on your website. If visitors are leaving your site within thirty seconds of arriving, it is unlikely that they have purchased products or converted. If they are clicking off pages without reading them fully and before they get to your CTA, (Call to Action), your content is underperforming and needs improvement.
Improving your pages by making them cleaner, easier to read, visually appealing, and more in-depth should lead to longer session durations — but don’t drag out short answers just for the sake of it. If the answer to a question is short, keep it short but easy to digest.
Percentage of page content read and average time on page will also be improved by these improvements, but you can also improve other factors such as your choice of font and column width.
Conversion Rate by Page and Source
By understanding conversion rate by page and source, you can start to see whether your website is suitably optimised for all display sizes and browsers, as well as which pages could do with an improved layout and better messaging.
Email Click to Open Rates
Many e-Commerce businesses, especially those with a high percentage of repeat customers, rely on email marketing for the majority of their revenue. Tracking the click to open rate of your emails helps you stay on top of campaign performance.
You can go a step further and track email conversion rate versus open rate, to fully understand how well your email marketing campaigns perform.
Essential eCommerce KPIs
While the above metrics give you a good insight into the overall performance of your site, you will need to hone in on some specific metrics in order to measure the sales performance of your website.
Here’s which KPIs to track:
Most Visited Product and Category Pages
You should assess the bounce rate, conversion rate and revenue generated by your most visited product and category pages so that you can identify possible improvements.
Improving your most popular product category pages to be more user-friendly and intuitive can help users to navigate and identify the products they want with greater ease and speed.
Basket Abandonment Rate
A high basket abandonment rate suggests that while your products are appealing, either the price is wrong, the sales journey is too complex or people are getting cold feet before purchase and dropping out. Assessing basket abandonment issues can really help you to improve conversion rate and revenue.
Checkout Abandonment Rate
Is your checkout process too complex? Are you requesting too much personal information from your customer before allowing them to complete their purchase? Without tracking the checkout abandonment rate, you can’t identify issues that are causing a drop in revenue and conversion.
Sales Conversion Rate by Page and Source
If you see a significant difference in the conversion rate of one product page over another, it could suggest an issue with that product offering or content. In addition, if conversion rates are significantly lower on mobile than they are on desktop, you may need to consider your mobile website journey and whether it is sufficiently optimised for users to easily transact on the go.
Average Order Value and Total Items per Transaction
Average Order Value (AOV) is one of the most important metrics for any eCommerce business to track. It is essential in measuring the long term value of your customers and helps you with everything from positioning your brand to projecting revenue over the coming year.
Average Transactions per Customer
If your company relies on repeat orders but you are seeing a downward trend in the average number of transactions per customer, it suggests that your loyalty strategy and customer satisfaction may need some work. Without insight into the average number of transactions per customer, you simply can’t know whether there’s an issue here that needs resolving.
Avoid Tracking Vanity Metrics
Simplicable defines vanity metrics as metrics that are designed to be impressive rather than actionable. While these metrics may make you sound good in a board meeting, in reality, they don’t reflect the true story of your bottom line. The metrics we have suggested you track here are all vital to understanding the sales performance of your website and improving it over time.
Assessing Performance Over Time
Now that you’re all set up and ready to measure your website’s performance, the most important thing is to track it consistently.
Each month and week you should be reporting on the KPIs that are most relevant to your company and proactively making changes to address issues before they result in a loss of revenue.
Your page speed is not constant.
The PageSpeed Insights score it gets today may not be the same in a month. The design and layout of your category pages may work today, but people change and behaviours change too. Keep checking and testing your pages to ensure you’re getting as many conversions as your page possibly can, which your tracked KPIs should keep telling you.
Not sure where to start? Exposure Ninja’s friendly, knowledgeable experts can show you how to take these insights and use them to improve your revenue and customer satisfaction figures.