Key performance indicators: How to establish, define, and use them to improve performance on the four major types of commercial Web sites. Part one of a series.
Just as a blueprint establishes the form and proportions of a house, a Web site's key performance indicators (KPIs), or success metrics, help establish a common foundation for all team members involved in building, analyzing, and improving your site.
Your Web site's success depends on this foundation's quality. That's why we recommend investing time and money up front to define the KPIs that tie to your overall business and site goals. The KPIs you select help determine the type of analytics data you need to collect and how you can use this valuable data to improve site performance.
No matter what type of site you have, you can apply this four-step methodology to maximize the value of the analytics data you gather:
This ongoing process is most effective when periodically repeated to continually fine-tune a site. The overall process fails if key site goals and KPIs aren't established early on and a method to measure the metrics tied to these KPIs isn't related to information your team can act on to improve your site.
How Do You Use Your Site?
There are different sets of important metrics, or KPIs, for different business types. These metrics are just a starting point for those who feel they haven't been looking at meaningful data in the past.
Over the coming weeks, I'll focus on each of the four commercial site types:
Many Web sites typically don't fall into just one category. Most include two or three different elements. When you define key site goals, divide the site into these different groups so the goals can more easily be defined. This holds especially true when you're analyzing a large site.
Lead generation is often considered the most common of the four site types. A good example of a lead-generation site is a high-end real estate site. It offers a product customers typically don't buy directly online. The client needs to entice a visitor to contact the company and arrange for a face-to-face visit to close the sale.
It's important for this company to track online leads and understand how those leads ultimately convert to offline sales. The average lead value can be defined based on the average close rate and the value of the properties purchased.
Understanding the value of these leads drives the need to better understand site behavior and identify ways to optimize the conversion.
The key to a lead-generation site or site section is to capture information about a visitor to use in future communications. Different types of lead generation include:
For each of the following lead-generation KPIs, there are a number of important metrics to track to understand the behaviors that improve each metric. Some of the most common KPIs include:
Lead-generation sites are often undervalued. In many cases, they drive significantly more revenue than full commerce sites. Recognizing this is the first step toward maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of your online investment with the help of Web analytics.
Next: Looking at the KPIs for commerce sites.
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As President of the Americas at POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. With more than 20 years experience in digital strategy, he is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports POSSIBLE's clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
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