Tracking website user engagement is essential to any marketing strategy, helping you to align your content (and your resources) with your company’s goals and your potential customers’ needs. Last week, I offered four reasons to track how visitors are interacting with your website. This week, I’d like to discuss three simple metrics anyone can use to improve their website design and online marketing content.
Use Google Analytics (which is free) to track these metrics, which in and of themselves are powerful enough to help you maximize the ROI of your content marketing. Even if you only have time to look at these metrics quarterly, you’ll gain powerful insights that can help streamline and strengthen your efforts:
- Bounce rate/pages per visit. A website’s bounce rate represents the percentage of people who leave a website after viewing only one page. This metric will vary widely depending on where your traffic is coming from, which page people are landing on and the nature of your content. According to publishing consulting firm Mequoda, you should shoot for a bounce rate of 50 percent or less.
The lower you can drive your bounce rate (and the higher you can drive your pages-per-visit metric) the more likely it will be that you’re providing your audience with the content they’re looking for. If the bounce rate is higher than you’d like, analyze the pages visitors are landing on most frequently and ask yourself: “Am I using a call to action on every page, whether it be an invitation to sign up for an email newsletter or a related product offer? Is my website easy to navigate?” If you’re answering “no” to either of these questions, you have work to do.
- Top (and bottom) pages. Identify your most frequently-visited pages to find out what your audience is responding to. You should keep in mind that if you link to certain pages with advertising, the traffic numbers for those pages will be inflated versus non-promoted content, but overall, this metric can tell you a lot. If certain pages get tons of traffic, produce more content on that topic, allowing you to produce less content overall to achieve the same amount of engagement. You can also boost that content using paid advertisements to position your campaigns for success.
Analyzing your lowest-performing content is valuable, too, because it can prevent you from wasting time creating content that no one is interested in. But be careful not to make snap judgments based on this metric alone. Everything from your headline to the search volume of your keywords to how you promote that content on social media can affect how much traffic it gets, so use this metric as a starting point for further analysis.
- Conversion rate. Don’t write content just for the sake of writing content – write each piece while keeping in mind what action you want website visitors to take before they leave the page. Would you like the visitor to sign up for your newsletter, share your content on social media or buy something from you? These are conversions you can measure and track over time, telling you how your content marketing efforts are translating into real returns.
To increase your conversion rates, experiment with the placement and design of your calls-to-action. Would your simple-text call-to-action perform better if it were higher up on the page, if it were displayed as a button or if it were a pop-up? A/B testing can help with this, giving you solid data to work from. Don’t forget, though – low conversion rates aren’t always a result of bad content or a weak call-to-action. Your offer, such as a newsletter sign-up invitation, product or discount, may not be very compelling. Without a compelling reason to take action, even the most well-placed and well-designed call-to-action won’t work.
Keep in mind that the metrics above apply to your website only; don’t forget to monitor the analytics on your social networks for even more engagement insights to drive your content marketing strategy.
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