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What is your web site doing? Key Performance Indicators


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 08:17 PM

I've long thirsted for a good resource and teacher on gathering up web site data that can be measured. I can define metrics for software testing and assign defect values to functionality, but when it comes to web sites, it's not so black and white.

(See our thread on engagability and where we start pondering how to measure that, to see what I mean.)

Bryan Eisenberg has been writing about web site performance lately. Here's a recent article:

The Nitty Gritty Behind the Glamour

He writes:

It's time we had a serious talk about numbers. Data. Metrics. Web analytics. Doesn't matter what you call the stuff, you simply must stay on top of how your Web site is doing. And the only way you can do that is by looking at those digits. Are you making money or losing it hand over fist? Do you know which parts of your site are humming along like a perfectly tuned engine and which stand in need of a complete overhaul? If you do something one way and then decide to make a change, are you evaluating the effect of that change?


We can all go swimming in the massive quantities of data we are able to collect online. But not just any old data will do. In fact, most of what you can collect is fundamentally useless. However, ebusiness does have its own meaningful set of relationships that can be measured and evaluated to advantage. Analytics dudes and dudettes call them Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. These are the babies that are going to mean the most to your online efforts.


In this forum, I'm going to be gathering up more information on measuring web site performance, and specifically hunting down anything related to the usability side of testing and gathering data.

Conversions are another area, related to ROI, that sooner or later, some of us become concerned with. Bryan has another web site called FutureNow in which he writes on this, and offers a free report called "Increasing Conversion Rates One Step at a Time", which you may want to check out.

You're used to tracking things like traffic, page abandonment and search engine placement, but now we hope to explore how we can understand the people behind the data. When you get to know what they need and want, your web site will be successful.

#2 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 09:06 PM

If I may, I would like to add that I am really excited for what this forum will represent. I have such high expectations and I look forward to reading the posts and contributing.

Great choice Cre8asite staff!

#3 cre8pc

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 07:58 AM

You may, and you can tell everyone at (cough) those other forums you cover and work with :twisted:

Cheers and always good to see you Barry! :D

#4 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:07 AM

Well - that is of course covered. http://www.seroundta...ves/000566.html

But I always feel weird posting links to other forums at an other forum. So I hope that all forum lurkers visit the Roundtable every day and will see the post about this forum. :D

#5 DCrx

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:05 PM

Just to kick off the topic is this old adage, not everything which can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted. In that same spirit I found this nice intro (cookies, metrics, meaningful measures). On that page is also Emetrics; Business Metrics for the New Economy. This discusses an old measure RFM (Receny, Frequency, Monetary).

The new thing is to add an extra letter or three to the old RFM part. But RFM does not assume one shot sales. It is biased toward existing customers and assumes retention.

Have you ever noticed the saying (in theory) is that it is easier to get an existing customer to buy than a new one. In practice many times old customers are not given that much consideration.

During the dotcom heyday, companies slapped sites on the Web and waited for traffic to pour in. They counted "eyeballs" and measured their site's "stickiness" as a way to convey the online real estate's value to advertisers. When the Internet bubble burst, "sticky eyeballs" seemed suddenly worthless.

-- CIO World; Web Metrics That Matter


Web Metrics That Matter goes into how different sites, with different objectives, would use different measures.

#6 cline

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 12:57 PM

It's amazing at how much of those old metrics of "eyeballs" and "stickiness" have permeated the collective consciousness. I still hear people throw "eyeballs" around, and folks can't seem to let go of "stickiness" as a criterion.

#7 Black_Knight

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:34 PM

folks can't seem to let go of "stickiness"

Nice pun. :(

#8 peter_d

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:42 PM

key performance indicators


The bottom line.

#9 cline

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:06 PM

It's amazing at how many of my ecommerce and lead gen clients think stickiness should be a really important measure. It can be difficult convincing them that while it's all well and good that people repeatedly visit the site and that their visits are long, it's much more important to focus on stuff like, did they buy?

#10 ultimatewatermassage

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Posted 27 June 2004 - 11:02 PM

I think the stickyness issue comes from when alot of sites were trying to become protals and communities and planning on ad revenues or subscriptions.

#11 ultimatewatermassage

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Posted 27 June 2004 - 11:09 PM

My traffic is organic search generated and I am trying to get a handle on what informational search terms (vs. product oriented terms) convert to sales. No direct access to logs just some lower end site stats.

#12 Aaron

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 08:19 AM

It's amazing at how many of my ecommerce and lead gen clients think stickiness should be a really important measure. It can be difficult convincing them that while it's all well and good that people repeatedly visit the site and that their visits are long, it's much more important to focus on stuff like, did they buy?


I won't disagree that the ultimate factor is whether or not they bought but not everyone is ready to buy the instant they step onto a site.

Case in point, I am redeveloping a site, with a retention focus in mind, for a client that offers a service for homeowners in that they can receive quotation from pre-screened, highly credible and qualified contractors and home service professionals to fulfill their project requirements.

Extensive online and offline marketing initiatives are being employed to bring qualified traffic to the site, however, not each one fo those people coming to the site have a project at that specific time that they need a quote on.

If we don't retain their interest through any means possible - that "stickiness" you speak of - then it's highly probable that potential customer will NOT remember my client's company or website when they time does come.

We need to employs as many tactics that make the visitor want to provide their contact information so we cna stay in touch with them on a regular basis with the objective that when they time comes and they DO have a project they will remember my client because we've given them a reason to do so - made the site "sticky" enough that they wanted to be part of our communications.

It's not always the first time visitor you want to capture because not everyone is ready to buy the first time but when you can keep bringing them back to the site and/or reading your communications then you have more of a chance in a sale down the road.

--
Aaron

#13 gravelsack

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 08:53 AM

There will always be examples where stickyness should be a major metric, but hopefully we can stop throwing the phrase around as if it was a prerequisite.

Some of my sites need to be the exact opposite of 'sticky' - I want the users to arrive, read what they were looking for and leave via an advert, and I want them to do it as quickly as possible. Obviously, these are 'ad supported' information sites, but I have affiliate sites where the same principal applies - land, buy and leave as quickly as possible.

May not be the same for your sites - but thats exactly my point.

It depends.

#14 cline

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 09:04 AM

I won't disagree that the ultimate factor is whether or not they bought but not everyone is ready to buy the instant they step onto a site.


And I won't disagree about it taking users many visits before they're ready to buy. Some of my clients have really been surprised at how many visits it takes before someone buys, and how long the delay can be between initial visit and purchase.

#15 Aaron

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 09:17 AM

And I won't disagree about it taking users many visits before they're ready to buy. Some of my clients have really been surprised at how many visits it takes before someone buys, and how long the delay can be between initial visit and purchase.


It really is amazing isn't it?

For one of our clients, on average, it takes 3 site visits and an average viewing of 30 pages before they make the purchase. Part of the reason, we've concluded, is it's a very unique and niche product that is very contrary to the industry "norm" so the education process is longer.

When we implemented this type of metrics my client finally opened his eyes as to the power of copy and visitor retention. Now he does whatever I suggest :)

---
Aaron

#16 ConversionRater

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:15 AM

The #1 metric I tend to focus on is revenue per unique visitor. Or if you want to take it a step further and pull in expenses, profit per unique visitors, but that takes more work.

This of course only is the most important to me on ecommerce sites, but it's really a better metric than conversion rate. Conversion rates can be easily improved by selling cheaper products, or discounting products, or doing something else that lowers your average sale price. Therefore, I find it best to focus on how much actual cash is being generated per visitor to the site.

In a non-commerce site, I tend to just focus on a wide array of indicators such as unique visitors, page views per visitor, time spent on site, conversion rate on newsletter signups or whatever the goal may be.

#17 cre8pc

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:30 AM

Hi CR,

I've been enjoying your blog and poking around. Good to have you here.

At the risk of messing up the topic here, you mentioned in your blog:

So, a wise blogger can title his blog entries with search terms and probably help get visitors to your site, which can help your bottom line.


I've found that to be true. My blog generates way more traffic than my other two web sites, so I use it to "push" traffic into my sites. It's another step in the conversion process, but hard to track.

For now, I've been doing what you describe, which is seriously consider what keywords I'll put into the title of the day's blog entry. Since so many newsfeeds search for leads this, I feed them.

Although I haven't measured the success of this in any precise detail, I can tell via email feedback or traffic when I nailed something. A clever title grabs people's attention. At least it gets them in the front door.

Welcome to the forums :wave:

#18 ConversionRater

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 03:21 AM

Thanks for the welcome.

And yes, we're probably messing up the topic, but I've really found that putting specific key phrases in blog entry titles combined with it sprinkled in the text can do wonders. I'm sure this "secret" will spread. It's not much of a secret, but I'm just not sure that many bloggers are thinking of that when they title their posts, and I'm not sure if many internet marketers have started blogs specifically for this purpose.

Obviously for very competitive search terms it's not going to be that easy, but for some less competitive stuff I've been getting top 10 rankings for various phrases.

I have another blog on a community site that actually generates a lot of sales for an ecommerce site due to the blog entries getting high search rankings for product names.

The ConversionRater.com blog is still pretty new and I haven't done much link development to try and improve it's relevancy/pagerank/importance. I also haven't tried to get many top rankings with it, but for a recent example where I did have rankings in mind:

I wrote a review of the web analytics solution called HitsLink. The title of the post is "Hitslink 3.0 Web Analytics Solution Review". The review was posted July 6th.

As of right now, here are some rankings on Google:

keyword: hitslink
ranking: #8

keyword: hitslink 3.0
ranking: #1 and #2

keyword: web analytics solution review
ranking: #2

keyword: hitslink web analytics
ranking: #3

Are any of those terms that popular? Not particularly, but I've had a lot more success with this with another blog on a topic authority site with a higher page rank.

#19 cre8pc

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 09:35 AM

Hi CR,

This is great info, and it verifies my theory. I WAS thinking of sharing this "secret" in my blog, but I dunno....sometimes it's fun to have a little extra ammo under your sleeve before the whole world figures out you've got the chocolate lollipop.

(I have to hide things in my house, from the kids. Can ya tell?) :twisted:

Kim

#20 ConversionRater

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 12:15 PM

Yeah, I'm not that anxious to publicize it a ton. Although it makes perfect sense in search optimization terms since most blog applications create new pages with the post title as the page title, as well as usually giving it an <h1> or something like it, and often including the title in the static URL it creates for the permanent entry page.

And if your blog is updated often, such as yours, it's probably spidered quite a bit, making it fairly easy to create new pages with targeted terms.

Essentially, most good blog applications could be though of in search terms as content management systems that create pages that are well optimized for search engines.

#21 cool_st_elizabeth

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:34 PM

I just took over as webmaster of a website for a quarterly magazine. I have lots of remodeling to do, but that's another story ... the site sells subscriptions by mail, PayPal, or CCNow, and also sells an anthology and back issues by the same methods. Our host provides us with Awstats, which counts exit pages. And by using print style sheets which are unique to each printable order form on the site, I can tell how many people at least intend to order through the mail. Can't tell if they follow through or what they order.

The client said no one has ordered subscriptions from the site for a really long time and I am trying to change that.

I just found this forum today, and I'm happy to be joining you.

Elizabeth

#22 bragadocchio

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 08:39 PM

We're happy that you're joining us here too, Elizabeth.

Welcome aboard. ;)

Hopefully we can help you figure out what's going on with subscriptions from the site.



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