One of the first things that I do when I start my relationship with a new client is to conduct a kick-off call. I ask the client some uncovery questions so I can get an understanding of my clients’ site and goals before I dig in and get dirty with analysis and recommendations. Oftentimes, the client is somewhat unclear on what the goals of their site actually are. If you are considering reaching out to a conversion rate optimization expert or heading up some conversion rate optimization efforts on your own, the first thing you should do is outline the goals of your site. Once you have a clear understanding of the goals you are trying to reach with your website, it will be much easier to establish which metrics will be of importance to you and how to measure them.
The Ecommerce Site
If you have an eCommerce site, defining your goal is simple; to get sales. To make that goal work for you, you should make a target to measure the success of your goal. For example, you could say, “We want to increase sales of Plush Safari Hats by 10% in the 4th quarter.” This way everyone in your company is working toward something tangible, and you will find you make progress more quickly this way.
Now that you have a goal and a target in mind, you can decide which metrics to use to establish some benchmarks. One metric that is going to be of obvious importance is the eCommerce conversion rate of your site (the rate at which visits to your site result in purchases). To see how those Plush Safari Hats are performing, you can put those products in a segment and view their specific conversion rate. In addition to measuring and optimizing eCommerce conversion rate are the metrics: average order value, revenue, and quantity metrics. These metrics can be valuable in measuring product performance and revenue performance for your site which all affect your bottom line.
If you are operating an informational site or a lead generation site determining the goals of your site can seem a little more difficult. To figure out your goals, ask yourself why you created a website in the first place. If your not sure why you created a website or you set it up just because “everyone else seems to be doing it,” then you will never know it’s value or if it is increasing or decreasing your ‘bottom line.’
The Lead Generation Site
Think about what it is that you do; perhaps you are a model, for example. You didn’t just put up a website in order to simply have pictures of yourself online did you? Most business professionals and businesses out there need more justification to have a website than simply just to have one. If you are a model and are interested in getting more bookings, your goal is to get people to contact you either by phone, e-mail or a lead generation form.
Although there is no web analytics tool out there that that can measure how many bookings you get from phone calls, you can keep track of how many calls you get and even ask how many people found out about you from your website. You can set up a page on your site that loads when a person clicks a call to action button that reads, ‘call me now,’ and then offers a phone number. There are many ways to keep track of how well your site is doing at generating calls.
Although GA has no direct way to track the phone calls you receive, what analytics CAN do is measure how many people complete a lead contact form on your site. Although it can’t be measured in an eCommerce report, GA provides the ability to create your own goals in order to establish a conversion rate. By creating a goal to capture lead form completions, GA will calculate the conversion rate of visitors who complete the task. You can take this metric a step further by determining how many visitors that complete a lead form on your site in a month result in a booking. Are you beginning to see that asking yourself a few simple questions can get at the meat of what your website can do for you?
The Information Based Site
You are probably interested in improving conversions on your own information-based website, but are not exactly sure which metrics will be of most value to you. This is a good opportunity to ask yourself the ubiquitous, ‘What do you want your website to do for you?’
For example, I currently have a client with an information-based site that has Ad Sense activated. Basically, with Ad Sense this client makes money by charging advertisers to place ads on their site. In order to optimize on the opportunity to increase revenue through Ad Sense, it’s important to understand how Ad Sense works. The dominant pricing strategy for Ad Sense is to charge advertisers a fee per million impressions (CPM). Therefore, if you increase the amount of page-views you have on your site, you can also increase the number of impressions and, likewise, your earnings through Ad Sense. Therefore, a valuable metric to track as part of your website’s goals could be page views.
As these two examples of non-ecommerce sites demonstrate, once you establish what you would like your website to do for you, you can begin to think through which metrics will be important to measure and formulate a plan for improving each of these metrics. This is what I call establishing baseline data and it’s usually the very first thing I do for my clients. Believe it or not, if you have already thought through this for your site, you are one step ahead of the game.