It's very easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about which web analytics actually matter to your marketing efforts. Platforms like Google Analytics or HubSpot make gathering metrics easier, but it can seem daunting to figure out what they all mean.
Website performance is especially complex. Today's websites include lots of components—from blogs to landing pages to core site pages—and of course, traffic to your website is coming from more kinds of sources than ever. Thus, website analytics reports often become a beast to manage and condense.
One particular area of worry for marketing directors is how core website pages perform on a regular basis. After all, a new, custom website project can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars; you want to make sure it turns up results. Especially if you spend lots of time and resources creating custom functionalities in the design, you should try to make sure as many eyes see your work as possible.
In this review of how to analyze website page performance, I'll highlight the specifics of how to analyze core pages like "Home," "About Us," "Contact Us," etc. versus content marketing functions of your website, like blogs and landing pages. In inbound marketing programs, so often we focus on total traffic that we don't take the time to learn how each component is performing.
How to Analyze Core Website Pages
(as opposed to traffic-driving functions, like blog and landing pages)
1. Contribution to Total Site Pageviews
When you look at your overall website traffic goals, analysts usually assess traffic by visits (or sessions). If you want to analyze subsets of your pages as compared to total traffic, a better option is to use pageviews as a unit.
If you have a total inbound marketing goal for website traffic, an effective option for evaluating your core website pages is to set a benchmark for what contribution of your total pageviews will come from those core pages. For instance, if you have a monthly inbound goal of 10,000 website visits, which might be approximately 12-14,000 pageviews, then what percentage of that goal do you expect your core site pages to contribute?
An effective inbound marketing plan won't rely on core site pages to bring in the majority of traffic, but it will solve for getting visitors to explore important pages on your website.
2. Analyzing Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page site visits. In other words, what's the rate at which visitors are coming, seeing that it's not what they wanted, and leaving quickly.
Used to measure a general signal of user engagement and state of content quality, bounce rate can help to identify when problems exist on your site. However, it is very dependent on the specific website and unreliable if looked at on its own. If your bounce rate becomes abnormally high this is a warning that visitors are leaving your site, and are unwilling to stick around to explore.
For important website pages, bounce rate can be a particularly important metric because these pages tend to be less reader-friendly than a blog article or landing page. While eye-catching design and unusual text patterns can be highly attractive, it can be off-putting causing a rise in bounce rate.
Activity that Increases Views to Core Site Pages
The goal of most sites is to keep the user engaged, nurture their interest and take them to the next step. In inbound marketing, as visitors become leads and increasingly interested in your company as a vendor, typically, they'll start looking at certain website pages more—specifically, pages like "Pricing," "Getting Started," and "Request a Quote."
To increase the views for these types of pages, you can't necessarily optimize for one piece of analytics over another. Getting more views to these pages isn't simply a matter of sharing them more on social media. Rather, it's the results of both increasing total visits and optimizing conversion pathways so that leads reach core pages more often.
Important Indicator: Average Time on Site
One way to tell how well your optimization work is going is to analyze average time on site. A good industry benchmark is 2-3 minutes. However, longer sessions indicate more engaged visitors. Time is a valuable and limited resource for us all so this metric shows how much time users are willing to spend consuming your content. As you increase overall visits and optimize the contribution of website page views, you should also increase this metric.
How to Direct Leads to Core Site Pages
Overall, if you count on driving traffic to your website via content marketing channels like social media, blogging, landing pages, etc. then getting those visitors and leads to your core site pages is a matter of good inbound user experience.
Let's imagine two different scenarios for directing visitors back to core website pages.
#1. Searcher Lands on Blog
If a visitor comes to your blog via organic search, an effective inbound marketing setup is to have a call-to-action button that direct a lead to a landing page and conversion form. However, even though that's the primary desired path of navigation, you also want to make sure your main top navigation is constructed in a way that offers visitors a reason to explore your core website. Check out these tips for making your navigation experience straightforward for visitors.
#2. Social Media Follower Finds Landing Page
A highly desirable situation would be if a social media follower clicked on a shared landing page offer, perhaps an eBook feature or a new webinar. Important inbound marketing techniques for directing a lead from a landing page toward a next step is to:
- Include main navigation on the follow-up thank you page
- Include helpful links from the core site pages on the thank you page
- Send a follow-up email that gets people acquainted with your core site pages
Don't Elevate Website Expectations Inappropriately High
In a nutshell, getting traffic back to important core website pages, like "Home," "About Us," "Pricing," etc. is a central goal for an inbound marketing program. At some point your inbound visitors need to transition from learning about what you do to exploring your company and capabilities. Core website pages are a big part of that process.
However, don't expect website pages to contribute to overall website traffic too much. A healthy inbound marketing program relies heavily on content to draw in visitors, and many of those visitors won't explore further than that initial article (at least during their first visit). The goal is to optimize the rate at which views to core pages contributes to overall page views, and if you increase traffic at the same time, the number of sales-ready leads and interested supporters will increase.
For more information about the analytics explored in this article and how they relate to a fully developed marketing and sales plan, check out this marketing guide: