Our current web site design is going on 4 years old at the end of the year. That’s old age in web years. Five years is often considered the end of useful life for a web site design, which means a new design before too long. And though change is always challenging, every iteration of our site for the past 20 years has involved better appearance, and better performance for our visitors. The next version will undoubtedly follow that trend.
Meanwhile, the current site has been a good performing site in multiple areas, and a recent site review with our developer, manager, and host, TopSpot Marketing, identified a number of metrics that show positive growth and improvement. A review of these metrics may provide you with some reinforcement of your site’s performance, or some ideas about how to make it better.
With the explosion of mobile devices over the past 5 to10 years, a responsive site has become mandatory if a site is to serve its visitors well. Responsive means simply that the site recognizes the visitor’s screen type and adjusts the display to match the screen, making for a much better user experience. In addition, Google has made responsiveness a significant criterion in determining organic rankings. We made responsiveness a key part of our design parameters when the site was developed.
Responsiveness typically costs more to develop. This is because developers must design page layout templates to fit each of the three major screen types: desk/lap top, tablet, and phone. But its an investment that you have to make if you want your site to be relevant to your audience.
However, responsiveness by itself is no longer enough. A Home page must be responsive, and fast. At the review session, our support team noted that Google is now factoring in the loading time of Home pages on mobile devices to their ranking algorithms. This is an area where the analytics show our site performing very well, with a Home page load time of just 3 seconds. Mobile visitors, you’re welcome.
The data available on web site performance are extensive, and the analytics on that date are equally so. The intent of this post is not to attempt an education on reading and using site analytics. But we do want to share a few from our recent review that we found particularly useful.
Organic Traffic: This measures traffic from organic searches, as opposed to traffic from ads, direct links, etc. Quantitative measures are great; we all want more traffic, but the trend is more important. Monthly numbers may go up and down, so year over year comparisons are most useful in understanding growth. Since our site’s initiation, year-over-year growth in organic traffic has ranged between 14 and 20 percent.
Organic Keyword Breakdown: In conjunction with organic traffic, this is the measure of how your site ranks for those keywords on which people are searching. This can be expressed as how many times your site ranks on page 1, page 2, page 3, and pages 4 to 10. As with traffic, absolute numbers aren’t as important as growth trends. If you’re doing SEO management well, this is where you’ll see the results. Our site’s page 1 rankings increased by 18 percent, and page 2 and 3 rankings both increased by 97 percent over the past year.
Goal Completions: For a company such as Revere, this measures the number of visitors who submit one of our forms: How Can We Help?, Request a Quote, or Ask a Question. For other businesses, this might be something else, such as product sales or white papers downloaded. You want the trend to be upward, and ours is. We also learned in our review that a greater number of goal completions are coming from deeper in the site, beyond the Home page. This shows that visitors are consuming more content before making a decision to submit a form.
Page Performance: Knowing what traffic is garnered by individual pages helps you understand what your audience is interested in. Is it what you’d expect? Is it what you want? Our Water-Wastewaterpage is our most consistent top performer. Greatest growth in traffic was experienced on our E-Houses page.
Blog Performance: This obviously won’t apply to all companies, but we want to see growth in our blog traffic. And we have. Year-over-year traffic has grown by almost 200 percent. Thank you, readers. You may also look at individual blog performance to help you understand subjects of interest to your audience.
You will undoubtedly have different aspects of your site that you want to monitor. The analytics exist for virtually anything you come up with. The key point to take away from this post is that you should use the analytics to understand what you’re doing well to achieve growth, and what you might need to do to improve performance.