Tracking how your website is performing is critical to the success of your site.
Using KPIs, we can ensure that your site continuously improves over time.
There are so many aspects to improving a site it can be overwhelming. Aspects such as:
- Improving traffic
- Gaining a higher conversion rate
- Increasing social engagement
But how do we know they are important?
Before we look at the recommended KPIs, we need a shared understanding of what a KPI is.
What is a KPI?
A KPI is a measurable data point that you can track and report. You must be able to influence it with your actions.
We can consider a KPI as viable if it meets these 4 requirements:
- Actionable - Be able to improve the KPI with your actions. There is no point in choosing a KPI that you have little control over.
- Target - Set a target for the KPI, having a target will focus our actions.
- Measurable - Have a data source that allows us to measure improvements over time.
- Reportable - Be able to report on the KPI, at least monthly
Any KPI we choose must meet these requirements.
For measuring and reporting we can use the free tool Google Analytics (GA).
Using GA we can track all the KPIs below.
Let's take a look at the KPIs we should be tracking.
How Do We Know Which KPI to Track?
There are four KPIs that you must track on your website.
- Search Ranking
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
Let’s take a look at each KPI and also we will discuss how Page Speed affects the other three.
1) Search Ranking
Monitoring your search ranking is a common practice for website owners. Google Search Console can show you which keywords you are ranking for.
It’ a good idea to connect the Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account. This gives you access to this data in a single location.
Let's look at an example of the search ranking KPI and how it meets the 4 requirements:
- Actionable - Focus efforts on on-page and off-page SEO. Increase the quality of content on site.
- Measurable - As mentioned connecting the Google search console to GA is a great way to track this.
- Target - Using GA it is possible to set a goal of how many organic searches we want to achieve.
- Reportable - We can produce a dashboard in GA that shows the data over time.
As we have met all four requirements, search ranking can become one of your KPIs.
2) Bounce Rate
How many of your users leave your website before it has loaded?
Are users not interested in the content you are producing?
Bounce rate looks at when your users leave your site.
A high bounce rate could show that your site's content, design or performance is not up to scratch.
Let's look at defining this KPI:
- Actionable - Look at page performance, the quality of the content or the design of the site.
- Measurable - Connecting Google search console to GA to track this data point.
- Target - Achieving a bounce rate of between 25 - 40% is excellent.
- Reportable - As we have the data in GA we can show this over time.
3) Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is a % of total users vs the number of users that convert.
To convert means different things depending on your site. It could be anything from buying a product to clicking a link.
We can define the KPI as:
- Actionable - Look at the placement of the call to action, work on A/B tests. Also, improve page speed.
- Measurable - Configure GA with events to track when a conversion has taken place.
- Target - Achieving a conversion rate of 6% on desktop and 3% on mobile would be an excellent target.
- Reportable - As we have tracked the event in GA we can report on it over time.
4) Page Speed
It might be obvious that I would recommend this last KPI.
After all, PageDart teaches you how to improve your web performance.
Page Speed affects every part of your website. It also affects the three KPI’s that we have already mentioned.
Improving this one KPI will improve all other aspects of your site.
Let's break this down.
Improving Search Ranking With Page Speed
Page Speed is now a Google search ranking factor.
Google uses page speed to determine where your page appears in search results.
This means that the page speed has a direct relationship with search ranking.
Looking at this chart, as average page load time decreases, search ranking increases.
There are of course many other factors but there is a correlation between these data points.
By improving the page speed we are improving the search ranking KPI.
Let's take a look at the next KPI, bounce rate.
Improving Bounce Rate With Page Speed
If your page load is long then you will increase the bounce rate.
Optimizing the page for speed, especially on mobile can have a huge impact on your site's bounce rate.
The chart below shows a clear correlation between bounce rate and average page load time.
Let's look at the last KPI conversion rate.
Improving Conversion Rate With Page Speed
A study by Akamai a global CDN looked at how performance affects conversion.
The results are surprising.
They found that the conversion rate decreased, as the page load time went up. For example, a 3 second load time on mobile would cut conversion rate in half, down to 1%.
There are many more factors than load time that can affect conversion. Yet, the evidence is clear that it plays a huge role.
Improving the page speed we have:
- Improved our search ranking
- Reduced the bounce rate
- Increased conversion
So what is a good page speed KPI?
Setting the Page Speed KPI
Let's set a KPI for Page Speed:
- Actionable - Many actions can improve page speed. Take a look at the Website Performance Factors post.
- Measurable - GA will track the Avg Page Load Time.
- Target - Achieving an average page load time of 3 seconds or under is excellent.
- Reportable - We can use GA to report on the speed but also to compare against the KPI's above.
Monitoring your Page Speed
Before we wrap up, let's look at setting up GA.
To compare your KPIs to page speed as I have shown in the graphs above, we can use GA custom dashboards.
Especially, useful when you connect your Google Search Console data to GA.
You will then be able to analyze the data in a single location to better understand the correlation.
Website Performance KPIs Summary
We now know what makes a good KPI and the 4 requirements that make up a KPI.
- Actionable - We must be able to improve the KPI with our actions. There is no point in choosing a KPI that we have little control over.
- Target - We must set a target for the KPI, having a target will focus our actions.
- Measurable - We must have a data source that can track the KPI over time
- Reportable - We must be able to report on the KPI
Using these requirements we can validate that the KPI we have chosen will work.
For website performance, there are four KPIs we must track.
The KPI's are:
- Search Ranking
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Page Speed
Page Speed is a special case and can affect the other KPIs. Therefore, we need to monitor it against the others in a single dashboard.
GA is a great tool for monitoring these KPIs and to compare page speed.
Creating a custom dashboard will allow you to see at a glance exactly how the KPIs are performing.