Traffic isn’t the only metric you should be using to measure your website or blog’s performance. But just what are the others and how can we get our already overworked brains around them?

Firstly, why isn’t it ALL about traffic? Well, if you only look at traffic and your blog post got 1,000 visits, this may look like a great success. However, if everyone left after 10 seconds, then how much value has your brand really gotten out of that interaction?

The goal isn’t just to get people to look at a page, it’s to get users engaged with your content and generate interest in whatever it is that you’re selling. That way you’ll either encourage them back for more useful content, or you’ll achieve the holy grail of interactions – an actual conversion.

So, to make sure you’re focusing on creating good quality content that will work hard for your website and your brand as a whole, we’ve identified five metrics you should be tracking in Google Analytics to accurately measure success….

1. Pageviews
This essentially is the ‘traffic’ – the number of times an individual page has been viewed. This is where you should start in your reporting, but definitely not where any real insights end. Via Google Analytics you can view data for every single page, that means you can analyse and track exactly how many people are looking at each page giving you a good foundation in understanding how people use your website, and why. And trust us, it’s not always the pages you think it is that are the most popular…

2. Average Time on page
Located near where you find pageviews on your Google Analytics dashboard is the ‘dwell time’ i.e. the amount of time someone deems your site worthy enough of their short attention span. This tells us whether anyone has actually read anything you’ve written, which is kind of essential when you’re trying to impart knowledge. So, pay close attention to which pages are engaging users, and which are getting the swipe left treatment. This way you can create a more strategic content plan moving forward.

3. Average pages per session
Similar to the above, average pages per session tells you how many pages an individual users viewed during their visit. If you’re a keen blogger then you should be interested in how many additional pages someone clicked on after reading the specific post that drew them to your site. This will help give you clearer insight into what type of content people want, and are finding useful, from you and what kind of customer journey you’re providing for visitors. If you have a low number of pages per session, you may need to add more internal links to help coax visitors into seeing what else you have on offer.

4. Returning Visitors
Much like returning customers, returning visitors mean your site is doing its job as a reputable and trustworthy source of information. A higher returning visitor rate indicates user loyalty which should translate into retained customer loyalty and referrals. Additionally, if people are returning to specific posts or pages, that means they’re referencing your content repeatedly – which should give you confidence in whatever it is you’re creating. This metric can be a little harder to find and nail down, but it is worth it if you can.

5. Goal Conversion Rate
Goals in Google Analytics record actions you want users to take after landing on a certain page. This could be signing up to a newsletter or free trial, or simply filling out a contact form. By setting up a goal conversion rate you’ll get the percentage of visitors who took that action when they first viewed the page. This helps to inform which pages and blog posts are contributing to your overall business goals and growth – something which is pretty important (and kinda cool).

We know navigating Google Analytics can be complicated, even setting it up often requires an unwelcome headache, but if you’re wanting to up your game online and make your content more data-driven, it’s an essential thing to get to grips with. To learn more, or for any help and advice on maintaining a healthy website, drop us a line today – we’d love to hear from you.