3 Must-Know Metrics for Your Small Business Website

Track with 3 Starting Positions SmallWe know you want to make maximum money with minimum effort on your website. So we put together this bottom-line, don’t-bother-me-with-details, just-tell-me-what-I-need-to-know list of three metrics that show if a local-business website is doing its job.

1. Conversion rate

The point of your site is to attract visitors, then convert them into leads for ultimate sales. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take an action on your site to start the lead train rolling, such as filling out a contact form, making an appointment online, clicking for a store locator map, ordering a pizza or signing up for email alerts for sales.

You can set up these actions as “goals” in Google Analytics (here’s the how-to from Google), then track how many goals were completed by visitors from which traffic sources, campaigns or keywords to see your conversion rate (and put more/less effort into the winners/losers).  You can even count as a goal an offline event like signing a contract (here’s how).

What’s a good conversion rate? As this chart from Marketing Sherpa shows, it varies widely by industry  from 10% for professional services to 2% for non-profits. Read this article from website usability pioneer Jakob Nielsen  to get into the finer points of conversion rates.

2. Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Also known as cost per action, this is what you pay to get a visitor to come to your site and take one of those conversion actions.

For your paid ads, tracking CPA is pretty straightforward, and here’s a simple CPA calculator from ClickZ.com. For cost-per-click (CPC) ads, you multiply the cost times the conversion rate. For cost-per-impression (CPM) ads, you multiply the cost times the click rate times the conversion rate.

In Google AdWords, you can set your bid based on a cost per acquisition target through the Conversion Optimizer feature (here’s the how-to from Google. You can also link your AdWords campaigns to the Google Analytics tracking on your website to see how your ads lead to conversions (more how-to from Google ).

Beyond paid ads, you can figure CPA on your site for visitors clicking from email campaigns against your campaign cost and for non-paid marketing such as social media or SEO content against the cost of the labor to create the Facebook posts, blog posts or other content.

If you’re uncertain about how to set your cost per acquisition, check this article on The Magic of Customer Lifetime Value for Local Businesses.

3. Bounce rate

The two saddest words in online marketing, this is the percentage of site visitors who came and left without taking any action.  A high bounce rate could mean something is scary about your landing page (see How to Create Landing Pages That Convert ) or your contact form (see 7 Tips for Lead Generation Forms That Generate Leads). Drilling down in Google Analytics, you may also find that site visitors arriving from ads for some keywords bounce and for other keywords happily click where you want them to.

According to web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik  “it is hard to get a bounce rate under 20%. Anything over 35% is a cause for concern and anything above 50% is worrying” (read more on what he has to say about bounce rate).

In fact, your site could show a high bounce rate and yet be a raving success if your visitors use it to find your phone number and call instead of clicking. A call-tracking company can assign your site a unique phone number and feed a record of those calls back into Google Analytics to give you a truer picture of your site’s effectiveness (read Dialing for Dollars with Call Tracking).

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