Once upon a time, it was enough to setup a website, cobble up a light-hearted (but informative) bio, chuck on your MSN/Hotmail/Yahoo account and that was that – website maintance done. Now, however, there’s added pressure to keep them updated and performing effectively. This is where web analytics are unbeaten – they provide you with important statistics and up to date metrics which, if monitored, can help boost your website’s efficiency your brand’s online presence. Here are some of the top metrics you should be watching:

1.) Visits & Unique Visits

The first, arguable the most basic, metric to monitor is how many times a user visits your site. The higher the number of visits, the more you can rest assured that your website is designed effectively and has efficient usability.
Unique visits refers to how many ‘unique’ users have visited your site – that is, users who have visited the site more than once and have returned, as opposed to visiting it once and never coming back.This metric gives a greater indication of whether your website is creating an impression, thus generating more returns to the website.

2.) Time on Site

This metric is a particularly misleading one! Monitoring the average duration visitors stay on your site can be a real eye-opener as it can indicate the usability and accessibility of your site. If the average stay is a short one with no purchase, it could be a cause for concern. Equally, if your average user is spending a long time on your site, it could be suggesting that your website is hard to navigate, and they could not find what they were looking for. For this to be most effective, monitor it in conjunction with other metrics to gauge site effectiveness.

3.) Page Impressions

AKA page views. As with time on site, this is a metric best monitored alongside several others. For instance, a thousand views – or ‘impressions’ – on your page does not necessarily mean that your site is well designed. In fact, if you have a thousand views but noone has made a purchase, this could mean you site is not that effective.

4.) Bounce Rate

This refers to the number of users that visit your site then leave it almost immediately. Whilst there is a good chance some of those will have ended up on the page accidentally, a high bounce rate could well indicate that the landing page is poor, and suggest it needs to be redone in terms of its design, usability and copy.

5.) Referrals
This is the path the visitor has taken before landing at your site, for example a user might have visited the site from a search engine, an email or possibly a social media channel. Knowing where they came from is a great indicator of where to invest more time, and possibly even money. If an email campaign is generating a lot of traffic, it could be at your best interest to place more focus on this.

6.) Conversion Rates

Ah, the big daddy of metrics! Arguably, the conversion rate is the most important metric of them all. This is the percentage of users who make an action of interest on your site, whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up to your site or requesting more information (eg. a pricing brochure). Generally speaking, the higher the conversion rate, the more successful your website strategy is.

So that’s it for now, folks! These are just six of the most important metrics you should be watching to help you build and maintain a successful website.