Most business owners and marketing managers are too busy to dive into website analytics every day. However, it is important to keep a pulse on how your online marketing programs are performing so you can adjust them as needed. The following is a recommendation for a 10-minute, 5-point inspection to use weekly or bi-weekly in order to keep current on your latest metrics.
1. Check Online Traffic
Traffic is a top-line metric of website engagement that measures the amount of users visiting your site. Why is reviewing traffic important? Without sustained amounts of traffic to a website, regardless of industry, businesses will have incredibly low visibility online. Use your favorite analytics platform to review trends in website traffic over two weeks or more. Do the peaks in traffic from marketing campaigns or new blog posts match what you’ve done in the past? Were there holidays or other external factors influencing the traffic? Jot down a couple of notes about potential reasons for the trending up or down when compared to weeks past.
G ot 30 minutes?
- For a deeper investigation, review traffic on a line graph against your conversion rates and sales trends.
- Make sure to also consider seasonality if that is applicable for your business by examining year over year data.
2. Track Sources
A sources report will allow you to review which channels are the most effective at driving website engagement. Review a line graph of organic search, social media, email marketing, campaign-specific, direct, and total traffic over at least two weeks. Any surprising trends? Review referral traffic by individual URLs -- any surprising referral pages? Are your blog posts generating traffic from quality inbound links? Take notes of the sticky content, and incorporate more of those topics into your content calendar.
Got 30 minutes?
- Take a look at the inbound links driving traffic to your website to see if there are any cross-linking opportunities to build authority for your site with search engines.
3. Analyze Keywords
Keyword analytics can be digested in many different ways. The most beneficial to your business in a quick-hit analysis is analyzing lead conversions by keyword. While traffic by keyword will show you which keywords are popular, lead conversions by keyword will show you which topics are bringing in qualified visitors. Do the keywords accurately portray your business’ products and services to drive leads? Your top converting keywords are invaluable to guide your website content, advertising buys, and even how you sell your products/services. Also look for keywords with low conversions. Usually these are opportunities to drive more leads. Add more of these keyword-focused topics to your content calendar.
Got 30 minutes?
- Review a keyword grader tool to access your site rank on the search engines compared to competitors for popular keywords.
- Be sure to add long-tail variations of top converting keywords to further refine your niche keyword opportunities.
4. Monitor Conversions
The conversion rate metric allows you to gauge the efficiency of your website’s performance. All the traffic in the world won’t help your business grow if your website isn’t able to turn visitors into business leads. It is important to note that every page of your website should offer opportunities for users to convert. In your review, jot down two pages with the lowest conversion rate. Examine those pages for any missed conversion opportunities. There are many different ways to optimize your pages for lead generation. For tips, review these lead generation best practices .
Got 30 minutes?
- Review your website's two worst converting forms against these basic lead generation principles for forms . Be sure you have a compelling “hook” for users to fill out the form as well!
- Also review your lead nurturing campaign(s) to jot down failed experiments or new content ideas to introduce.
5. Measure ROI
Finally, tie it all back to ROI. Take the sum of what you’re spending and divide by what you are generating in returns (sales) from the website. There may be other key performance indicators marketing managers can use for an online program, however. Perhaps you’re working against cost-per-lead. Has this changed over time as you’ve grown or taken on lower cost initiatives, like search engine optimization and email marketing? Jot down two ways to reduce overall cost to the program and/or get more leads to balance out the equation.
Got 30 minutes?
- Break down your ROI by traffic source. Any surprises?
- Write down goals for each traffic source and at least one step to reduce costs for each source.
As a best practice, always leave your analyses with takeaways and action items. Having these will encourage you to continue to reviewing your analytics regularly. Prioritize analytics for 10-minute weekly or bi-weekly reviews. Capture all your notes and high level metrics in an easy spreadsheet to keep history and share with your team.
Do you regularly review your marketing analytics to check the performance of your marketing? What other metrics do you track?
This is a guest blog post by Samantha Schultz, an online marketing specialist and project manager at LyntonWeb . LyntonWeb helps companies grow with creative inbound marketing and technology solutions. Visit them at HUGS 2011 and join their Birds of a Feather roundtable discussion, “Using Analytics Tools for Business Growth."
Photo credit: LIBECK