Content Marketing is all the rage these days. And so it should be. However jumping in without a planned approach to your content marketing is just going to result in a waste of time and expensive resources. You need to identify your target market first. Once you have done that you then have to measure what your customers are actually doing on your website. Is the content that you are producing doing what you want it to do?
If the content that you are creating is not working, then you need to tweak your strategy and find out what is working. The problem is that if you are not measuring your website traffic and then analysing the results, you have no idea how to fix it.
This is where website metrics comes into play. To measure is to know!
There are several traffic analysis tools available out there. The most well known is Google Analytics.
Here are some of the key metrics that you should be tracking:
Traffic sources – You need to understand how your website visitors actually find your site in the first place. This data allows you to understand which your most effective platforms are and which traffic sources are giving you the best results. This is extremely important information which can be used in planning your traffic strategy.
It allows you to concentrate your efforts in the areas that will give you the best return. Without this kind of information you are effectively guessing as to the effectiveness of your traffic strategy.
Further, by analysing this data you will understand the proportion of traffic that is coming from organic search, direct traffic, referral traffic or social media. In addition to this, Google analytics will also show you the location of your visitors, the browser they use to reach you and even which device they viewed your website with.
Landing page – Knowing which page your website visitor initially arrives on (the landing page) will help you in your decision making. By understanding which are the most popular landing pages on your site, you can optimize them to increase visitor engagement. One strategy to use here is to have a strong “call to action” on popular landing pages that encourages your website visitors to take a desired next step.
Obviously, the more interaction a visitor has with your website the more likely they are to take your desired course of action.
Average time spent on site – This metric will allow you to clearly identify your website visitor’s engagement with the content on your site. Generally speaking, the longer a visitor spends on site the better assuming that the visit results in a desired outcome.
There are exceptions to this, for example an online bank may well wish to keep on-site time to a minimum for security reasons.
Exit page – Via your Google analytics you can also discover the pages from which website visitors generally exit your site. At this point your website visitor may have viewed just one page or, in fact, a number of pages.
The reason this particular metric is important is that, ideally, you want your website visitors to leave your site after they have taken a desired course of action. So, for example, should the desired course of action be for a visitor to place an order with you, they should really be leaving your site via a thank you page that is presented upon order completion.
Bounce rate -This metric allows you to ascertain what percentage of your website visitors view only one page and leave your website without viewing any of the other content. Your objective is to get your website bounce rate as low as possible. A low bounce rate means that your website visitors are interacting with more than one page on your website. Generally this means that your content is having the desired effect and engaging your visitors properly.
The above metrics obtained from Google analytics should not be viewed in isolation but rather as a combination of data that can give a very accurate overall picture of how your website content is performing.