6 simple tips to boost your online success with meaningful reporting.
Here's why you should think about how your website is being used.
1. Define measurable goals
The first thing you should do is ask yourself what you actually want to measure. Ask yourself what makes sense to you and is congruent with your business goals. For example, an online store operator should define completely different goals than a service company.
To give you a better idea, I have described two different examples for you.
Example goal 1: Generate more orders in an online store
In addition to sales, store operators can also define the number of orders per product category as a goal. But also the evaluation of the online campaigns (see tip 2) will be important to find out which measures are most efficient.
Example goal 2: Generate more contacts
For a service company that uses a website primarily for informational purposes, the easiest way to measure online success is by analyzing contact requests via a contact form (Tip 4).
Don't make things too complicated for yourself, especially at the beginning. It is much more efficient to focus on a few goals. Set these up correctly, track them, and communicate them internally on a regular basis as a success metric. It is better than measuring everything and not having a meaningful report at the end.
2. Use UTM parameters to evaluate your measures
The somewhat cryptic name "UTM parameters" is actually a very simple way to better assess which measures or campaigns are successful and which are not.
All you have to do is to add some additional parameters to the link you use.
Example 1: The campaign source
This is how a link could look like if you want to tell Google Analytics that the user who clicks on it comes from the newsletter campaign.
Or like this if you link to your website from a Facebook post.
Example 2: A specific campaign
However, it becomes more interesting when you append additional parameters with an "&", like here, for example, to also measure the success of a specific campaign.
In Google Analytics, you can finally evaluate each term individually under Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns via this path.
3. Use the dwell time to analyze whether your pages and blog posts are actually read.
Dwell time can be set in Google Analytics for most reports (e.g., under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages) as the "Average Time on Page" metric. Especially for longer pages or blog posts, this allows you to easily see if visitors bounce after a few seconds or stay on your page for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
Again, it all depends on the goal of the particular page. Where a long dwell time is very good for a blog post, it should be rather shorter on a store product page, as customers want to find what they are looking for quickly and then leave the page (at best with a purchase).
4. Measure the number of contact requests per month through your website.
If you are not directly selling products on your website, it is not that easy to define or measure success. The easiest way to measure a direct goal as a service provider is to set up a contact form and analyze the number of contact requests. Even better is a reporting of the contact requests per month, because this way you can better assess the development.
Offering an e-mail newsletter and the corresponding registration on the website opens up two possibilities at once, for example. You get the e-mail addresses of potential new customers. If they don't become your customers right away, you can at least continue to provide them with information via e-mail marketing, which increases the chance that they will become your customers later on anyway.
5. Observe your visitors while they are surfing the site
It is important that you give a few goals (e.g. order product XY) to all participants of this usability test (that's what we call it in practice) before they start observing, but then let them use the site independently without interfering. Asking participants to say out loud everything they think while using your site will help you learn more about what your customers think about your products and website. In addition, you can ask if it's okay if you record the test for later evaluation.
6. Via the user paths you learn where the greatest need for action is.
If you run an online store, you will find another helpful tool in Google Analytics with the user paths that will help you find out exactly where action or optimization is needed.
You can easily make a so-called funnel analysis and see at which step in the buying process your customers drop out. Often these are small things that cause visitors to abandon the process. A button in the payment methods section that frequently leads to bounces probably shows that you don't offer the desired payment methods.
Bonus tip: use benchmarks to assess your metrics
Finally, I have a bonus tip for you. There are various websites and studies that offer online marketing benchmarks for download. These are benchmarks that help you assess how you should set your goals so that your metrics are at least in line with the industry average. Especially at the beginning, it is difficult to classify whether the measured values are good or bad. At this point, recommending a study would not make sense, as benchmarks vary greatly from industry to industry. Nevertheless, I have a good tip where you can start. Namely, in Google Analytics itself, under Audience > Benchmarking, you will find an area where you can compare your values directly in Google Analytics with industry values.
Above all, it is important that you continuously improve. So it's not a big deal if your values are below these comparison values at the beginning.