Technology Tip

Monitoring the Performance of Your Small Business Website

Monitoring the Performance of Your Small Business Website

Because your small business website plays an integral part in your online marketing efforts, it’s important to monitor the site’s performance and make periodic adjustments to help the site support your small business goals more effectively.

While advanced optimization may require some technical expertise, there are basic steps you can perform to make sure your site is functioning as a business growth tool, not just an online brochure for your small business.

Key Metrics to Monitor

One of the most effective tools for monitoring your website’s performance is Google Analytics. This powerful (but free) service allows you to understand how many people are visiting your site, how they find you, the device they’re using, and other important insights into your site’s performance

The most important metrics to monitor include:

  • Unique visitors. This statistic is intended to help distinguish new visitors from your site’s overall traffic count. It’s interesting to know how many people are visiting your site during a given week or month, but it’s valuable to know how well you’re doing in attracting new visitors (who may be potential prospects or leads). A negative trend line could indicate potential problems in maintaining a healthy pipeline of leads.
  • Average visit duration. This highlights how much time people tend to spend on your site and its pages. If people are hitting the site and leaving in a few seconds, that’s a warning that your site’s appearance, navigation or content aren’t making the positive first impression you hoped for.
  • Bounce rate. This metric tracks the percentage of users who enter the site and only visit one page. Understanding the implications of a bounce rate above 75% can be tricky. On a landing page, your bounce rate will likely be high because people are coming to the site for a specific reason. On your home page, a high bounce rate could indicate people don’t find the page compelling (especially if that rate is paired with a short visit duration).
  • Your site’s transaction or conversion rate. This measures the percentage of visitors who took the desired action on a sales, landing or registration page. If you are offering a report or other incentive in exchange for an email address, for instance, you want to understand how many people who visit the page sign up for the download or your newsletter. A low rate, or a downward trend, could indicate it’s time to revise the sites’ copy or the offer you are making.

How Long Will People Wait?

Another aspect of your site performance that is worth monitoring is the page’s load speed. How quickly a page loads is an important consideration in search engine rankings, and most visitors won’t wait more than two or three seconds for a page to finish loading.

Fortunately, Google offers a free PageSpeed Insights tool that helps you identify not only how quickly your site loads, but also some highlights some site features that may be slowing down its overall performance.

Pasting your site’s URL into the tool will provide site-loading index scores for mobile and desktop users and will identify issues that should be corrected to improve your site’s scores. Common causes of delay may include images not being sized properly for fast loading, too many page elements that require plug-ins, and other problems.

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