If you build it, they will come. Right?

Well, they might show up, but getting potential customers to visit your site isn't going to be enough. Growing your audience and your customer base requires developing informative content and digging deep to analyze what's working well and what isn't. All this information is trackable inside of Google Analytics (a free resource).

This analysis is critical in an increasingly competitive online environment. Understanding how users interact with your page and respond to your content is one of the most powerful tools a business with any online call-to-action can have. Without this measurement, your marketing becomes a guessing game.

You can't just have a visually appealing website. Users need to find your content beneficial, and their path to conversion needs to be a smoothly paved road. If it's not, they aren't going to convert and search engines will see you as less credible.

The growth of access to audience analytical data has changed the digital marketing game forever. Data on referral paths, conversion rates, dwell times, and the number of visits per user are now readily available. How can you use this data to see what's working and what's not? How do you know which touchpoints drive your goals and which don't? Aligning this analytical data to your objectives is the only way to make insights actionable.

When it comes to your website traffic, there are mountains of variables you can and should track. For the sake of time, in this blog we'll cover engagement metrics important for analyzing the effectiveness of content, developing strategy, and guiding change.

Bounce Rate

Unless your website is a single page, your bounce rate should remain moderately low. Bounce rate indicates the percentage of users who open your page and then leave without navigating anywhere else. These users often "bounce" right back to Google. See what I did there?

A high bounce rate can indicate a problem, especially if it's combined with higher than average site traffic. If you notice a high bounce rate, you can sort your pages by highest bounce rate to get an idea of where users aren't engaging and take action to fix those areas.

Pages Per Session & Page Depth

The number of pages looked at during one visit to your website gives you your pages per session metric. Pages per session goes hand in hand with the "bounce" rate of your website. If users aren't bouncing when they get to your site, what are they doing? How many other pages did they visit? What specific pages are being viewed the most, and are they leading your users to look at more content?

You can use this information to determine what your audiences seem most interested in, which pages drive them further into your website, and which pages drive users away. This data can also help you uncover internal problems with linking, conversion issues, lack of interest on pages, and issues with page layout.

A person is much more likely to convert if they stay interested over several pages on your website.

Average Session Duration

Session duration is a big one! The average time someone spends on your website is the average session duration. A higher session duration usually indicates that you met your user's needs and that they are engaging with your content.

There are, however, a couple of potential red flags. If users are on your site for long periods and they aren't looking at multiple pages or converting, there's a good chance there is an issue with your call-to-action. Or, if your average session duration is low and combined with a high bounce rate, you can conclude your user journey needs some work.

Exit Rate & Top Exit Pages

Looking at your top exited pages may help you understand why people are leaving your site. Look through these pages and think about what could be missing. Do they have slow loading times? Is there a call to action? Is it easy to use? Is the information organized well? Addressing these issues can quickly turn a low-performing page into one that converts well.

Returning Visitors

Most users don't convert on their first visit. They're likely visiting multiple sites looking for the best experience, advice, quality, or price. An increase in returning visitors indicates that users found your content engaging or valuable. It also means the pool of people to build relationships with is growing, increasing your chance of winning new leads or customers.

Time Spent on a Specific Page

If you're getting a large number of users on a page, but they spend little time there, it means there's an issue. Targeting could be off, written content could need improvement, or the page could be lacking visual aids. Make changes one at a time. Evaluate data after each change to identify the pain point your users are having.

Goal and Event Completions

Goal and event completions are two metrics that require some extra leg work and setup. They aren't something you'll find in Google Analytics by default since goals depend on individual needs. A goal for you could be a checkout completion, a form submission, or even a phone call from your website. If you want to understand what drives goal completions, you must track them.

A goal completion is better known as a conversion. This is the trackable action a user performed in regards to your business. This could be a contact form, call, or sign-up. You'll want to know how many users converted, what traffic sources they converted from, and what page they converted on. If you don't understand their journey, you can't continue to duplicate the experience.

An event can be any action a user took, up to and including a conversion. Setting up events at different points in the conversion flow can help you understand where potential customers bail in the process and help you develop an improvement plan.

For instance, you can set up an event for every step in the checkout process:

• Add item to cart

• Go to cart

• Shipping

• Payment information

• Checkout completion

If you identify where users abandon the checkout process, it will help you fix that disruption in the flow.

Although this is a small sampling of the metrics you could be tracking for engagement, it should help you understand more about your site traffic and user flow. It should also give you a clearer picture of what motivates your potential customer base.

If this data is overwhelming, we get it! Finding a partner to help guide your on-site data analytics and SEO efforts can relieve worry and stress. Schedule a call with the Storm Cloud Marketing team to talk about your goals.

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