What Performance Metrics We Focus on When Designing Your Website

Martini

Head of Growth & CEO

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You’ve paid tooth and nail so your business finally has a website but do you know if it’s actually helping you achieve your goal or losing you more money than you used to build it? That’s why you need to track its performance metrics.

But the problem is you may not know what data to look for or how to even translate the data you find through Google Analytics and other analytics tools you may use. Which is why we do all the heavy lifting for you in that regard.

After several years designing 50+ websites, we’ve put together a list of the most important website metrics we test our custom designed website against during our quality assurance phase and throughout our post-launch support.

It’s important to us that we deliver successful websites to you, our clients, which is why our web designs are strictly data-driven by these metrics. But before we share what they are, let’s look at why they matter.

What are performance metrics and why they matter in web design

Website performance metrics are specific data points that reveal how well your website is doing. They reveal how users interact with your site and pinpoint where things are running smoothly or going wrong. Here’s why this matters:

  • Identify problem areas. Metrics expose lagging areas of your website. Maybe pages load slowly or users bounce off quickly. This data pinpoints specific issues to fix.
  • Measure the impact of changes. When you optimize your site, you want to know if those efforts worked. Metrics provide concrete proof of whether adjustments were successful or not.
  • Justify investment. Data helps you prove the return on investment (ROI) of website design, development, and marketing efforts. Did updates lead to more sales? Metrics will tell you.
  • Understand your users. Metrics paint a picture of how people interact with your website. This information fuels design and content decisions that better match their needs.

Your goals determine what metrics you focus on

Website data can be overwhelming especially when you don’t know where or what to look for. The best approach we use is matching your main goals to the website metrics to focus on. This helps us narrow down the long list of website metrics to track. Here are top 3 goals our clients come to us with:

1. Attract visitors and increase website traffic

If your goal is to bring more people to your website, you’ll want to focus on metrics related to attracting new visitors and getting them to explore your site. This includes things like traffic sources, organic search traffic, keyword rankings, pages per session, etc.

2. Increase time spent on your website and engagement with your product/service

Once visitors land on your site, the next hurdle is keeping them interested and guiding them towards desired actions. If the aim is to create a website that people find valuable and spend time on, engagement metrics become essential like bounce rate, average session duration, time on page, etc.

3. Convert website visitors to customers

The ultimate aim for many websites is to drive conversions, whether it means making a sale, booking an appointment, or getting a newsletter signup. To see how well your website convinces visitors to take a desired action, different metrics matter like conversion rate, form submissions, sales, etc.

We maintain your website using these key website performance metrics

1. Website performance metrics for measuring traffic

Sessions

This metric simply counts the total number of visits to your website within a specific timeframe (day, week, month). It gives you a general idea of how popular your site is and how much traffic it receives.

By tracking sessions over time, you can see trends, measure the impact of marketing campaigns, and understand how traffic fluctuates throughout the year. Plus , monitoring session volume can help you assess how well you’re attracting new visitors to your site.

New vs returning users

Tells you if people are visiting for the first time or coming back for more. This can be checked with Google Analytics under the Audience > User Overview report. Here, you’ll see a breakdown of new vs returning users by session.

A good mix of new and returning users is ideal. Lots of new visitors means you’re attracting fresh faces, while a strong base of return visitors shows you’re providing value and building loyalty.

Conversely, a low volume of new users might indicate weaknesses in attracting new visitors, while a dwindling number of returning users could point to issues with user engagement or satisfaction.

Traffic sources

Where visitors come from is a goldmine of data. It can be broken down into:

  • organic search (traffic from search engines),
  • social media (referrals from social media platforms),
  • referrals (traffic from other websites),
  • direct traffic (people who type your URL directly in the browser bar), and
  • paid advertising (traffic from paid ads you run on search engines, social media, or other websites).

If you’re not seeing much traffic from any particular source, it might be time to adjust your marketing strategy for that channel. Tracking your traffic sources over time show you which channels are most effective at bringing visitors to your site and can then focus your resources on those channels.

Top pages

Reveals which content is most popular with your visitors. This is a treasure trove of insights that can help you improve your website and content strategy. To find this in Google Analytics, go to the Behavior section and select Site Content > All Pages.

This report shows your website’s pages ranked by how many times they’ve been viewed (pageviews).

  • Analyze the top-performing pages to understand what kind of content resonates most with your audience and is most informative for them.
  • Look for things that these pages have in common, such as the format of the content (articles, videos, infographics), the topics they cover, the keywords they target, or the calls to action they include.

This can give you valuable clues about the type of content your audience prefers. Or the ones they don’t engage with on pages with lower page views.

2. Website performance metrics for measuring conversions

Conversion rate

This is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action. This action depends on your goals – it could be a purchase, filling out a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.

Most analytics tools calculate this automatically. In Google Analytics, find it under “Conversions” -> “Goals” -> “Overview“.

A low rate can reveal issues at any stage of the user journey. Consider: Is navigation confusing? Are calls-to-action clear? Is the checkout process too complex? A/B testing (different page layouts, button text, etc.) helps identify what drives more conversions.

Goal completions

This refers to the total number of times a specific conversion goal is achieved. Unlike conversion rate (which is a percentage), this is a raw count. If leads are your goal, this number shows how many you generate. You would need to track this over time to understand trends (seasonality, marketing campaign effectiveness).

In Google Analytics under “Conversions” -> “Goals.” Set up goals in advance to track specific actions. Track progress toward your business objectives. Did you hit a target number of newsletter sign-ups? If completions increase without an increase in overall traffic, your optimizations are likely working.

Cost per conversion

How much do you spend to acquire one customer/lead? This includes advertising, content creation, etc.

This performance metrics requires a bit more legwork and it gets more complex with multiple campaigns. Find your total marketing spend over a specific timeframe (monthly advertising costs, for example). Then divide that total cost by the number of conversions you achieved in that same timeframe.

For instance: Let’s say you spent $1,000 on advertising in March and had 50 sales from your website. Divide $1,000 by 50 and you get a cost per conversion of $20.

A lower cost per conversion is generally better as it indicates you’re getting more efficient results from your marketing spend.

To improve this metric, compare the performance of different marketing channels.

Are you seeing more conversions (and a lower cost per conversion) from social media advertising compared to pay-per-click ads? Knowing where your investment yields the best return will guide how you budget more effectively and focus on the most cost-effective strategies.

Cart abandonment

This metric shows what percentage of users who add items to their shopping cart leave your site without completing the purchase.

Most e-commerce platforms track cart abandonment rates. Look for this data within your analytics or shopping cart software.

A high cart abandonment rate indicates there may be friction points in your checkout process. Investigate common reasons for abandonment, such as unexpected shipping costs, complex forms requiring too much information, or a lack of preferred payment options.

Retargeting campaigns can help recover lost sales. These targeted emails or ads can remind users about the items they left behind and offer incentives to complete their purchase.

Important things to note:

  • Not all conversions are purchases. Track smaller actions (newsletter sign-ups, clicks) to see how people move through your sales funnel.
  • A 2% conversion rate might be amazing for a complex product, but terrible for an impulse buy. Benchmarks are helpful here.

3. Website performance metrics or measuring user experience

Page load time

This is perhaps the one of the most foundational UX performance metrics. Aim for a lightning-fast load time under 3 seconds. If your pages take longer, users are likely to get frustrated and bounce away. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix can identify problem areas slowing down your website, like large images or bulky code.

Once you have this information, you can take steps to optimize your site. This might involve compressing images, minimizing redirects, leveraging browser caching, or even considering a content delivery network (CDN) to improve speed.

Bounce rate

A high bounce rate can signal a mismatch between user expectations and what your page delivers. This could be irrelevant content, poor design, or technical issues like slow loading times or broken links.

Context matters, though – a blog post with valuable information might naturally have a higher bounce rate than a product page where users intend to make a purchase.

  • How to check: Find bounce rate in Google Analytics under Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages. Compare individual pages to your site-wide average to identify areas for improvement.

  • How to use this information: Make sure your content is what users are looking for by matching their search intent and keywords. Write clearly and simply, using headings, bullet points, and short sentences. Make it easy for visitors to find what they need by having a clear navigation menu and fixing any broken links or errors.

Time on page

High time on page indicates good user engagement. It suggests that visitors are finding your content interesting and valuable. Conversely, low time on page might signal problems. Users may be leaving quickly because they can’t find what they’re looking for, the content is poorly written, or the page is difficult to navigate.

  • How to check: You can find time on page in Google Analytics, under the same Behavior section as bounce rate.
  • How to use this information: To improve time on page, consider making your content more engaging. Use visuals like pictures, videos, or charts to break up text and add visual interest. Add clear calls to action, such as buttons or links, to encourage visitors to explore other relevant parts of your site.

Mobile responsiveness

With mobile searches now surpassing desktop searches, a website that’s not mobile-friendly is a major disadvantage. It can hurt your search rankings and, more importantly, deliver a frustrating experience for a significant portion of your potential audience.

  • How to check: You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which is quick and easy. It’s also a good idea to manually test your website on different mobile devices and screen sizes to get a real-world feel for how it renders.
  • How to use this information: If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll need to implement a responsive design that adjusts its layout and content to display optimally on any device, from desktops to tablets to smartphones. Avoid using pop-ups that block the screen on mobile devices, and make sure your image sizes are optimized for smaller screens.

4. Website performance metrics for measuring technical SEO

Crawl errors

Search engines use software called “crawlers” to navigate your website and index its content. Crawl errors occur when these crawlers encounter issues that prevent them from accessing or indexing important parts of your site.

It could be because of broken links, incorrect server responses, or problems with your robots.txt file. Crawl errors can prevent valuable content from being seen by search engines and users alike.

  • How to check: You can check for crawl errors using Google Search Console. The “Coverage” report within Search Console will list any errors that Google encounters while trying to crawl your website.

  • How to use this information: Fixing crawl errors might involve fixing broken links, updating your robots.txt file, or resolving server-side issues.

Broken links

These are like dead ends on a road trip – frustrating for users and bad for SEO. Broken links can occur when pages are moved or deleted without proper redirects, or when you link to external sites that are no longer active.

Luckily, there are tools like Screaming Frog or ahrefs Site Audit that can crawl your entire website and identify broken links, both internal and external. Once you have a list of broken links, you can choose to fix them by redirecting the old URL to the new relevant page, or by removing the link entirely if the content it pointed to no longer exists.

Organic search rankings

Track your position for relevant keywords over time using tools like SEMrush or ahrefs. Organic search rankings are a lagging indicator, meaning it takes time to see the impact of your SEO efforts reflected in ranking changes.

However, monitoring rankings over weeks and months allows you to identify trends. Stagnant or declining rankings signal a need to investigate and make adjustments to your SEO strategy.

Are you targeting the right keywords? Is your on-page SEO optimized? Is your backlink profile healthy? By regularly reviewing your rankings and asking these questions, you can course-correct and ensure your website maintains high visibility in search results.

Backlinks

Backlinks are incoming links to your website from other websites. Search engines consider backlinks a sign of trust and authority, and they influence your website’s ranking in search results.

The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website is likely to rank. However, not all backlinks are created equal. Low-quality backlinks from spammy websites can actually harm your SEO.

It’s important to focus on acquiring backlinks from relevant, reputable websites in your niche.

Important things to note:

  • These metrics always need to be interpreted in context.
  • There are no universal “good” numbers, as success varies by industry and website type.

Performance metrics are not just about the numbers, it’s about what they tell you

Website performance metrics provide a window into how your website is actually performing. Tracking conversions and traffic allows you to see how effective your marketing efforts are at driving visitors to your site and converting them into leads or customers.

Tracking technical SEO ensures search engines can find and understand your site properly, while user experience metrics reveal where visitors might be getting stuck or frustrated.

But turning data into action is where the experts at Spyderweb Digital Solutions excel. We take a holistic approach to website analysis, combining deep technical expertise with an understanding of how online users behave. This means we can help you:

  • Uncover hidden problems: Metrics sometimes reveal issues you weren’t even aware of. We’ll diagnose the root cause, not just the symptoms.
  • Prioritize actions: Not all optimizations are equal. We’ll guide you on where changes will have the biggest positive impact.
  • Make data-driven decisions: Take the guesswork out of website updates. With performance tracking, you’ll know if changes are making a difference.

Next step: Fill this form here and claim your free consultation.

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