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Website Traffic – What to Measure?

     -     Sep 17th, 2013   -     Accounting Marketing, Accounting Websites, Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Anyone who has been in the accounting marketing profession for some time knows the importance of measurement. Let’s face it, we work with accountants and they love numbers and the ability to measure things. In order to be successful ambassadors of our inbound marketing program we need to be able to measure and translate activity into meaningful data for management. In other words, we have to make the data make sense, or do our own “number crunching”. After all it’s not like this is something new. Most firms invest in tracking ROI to evaluate their efforts and ensure effectiveness.  So when it comes to the website and related inbound marketing efforts the approach should be similar.

The most common question Flashpoint encounters when first working with a client is about which website analytics software to use. There are a number of options available depending on your needs and what specific information you would like. However, for most accounting firms Google Analytics is an excellent package because it provides a wealth of information for no cost. The latter part I have observed is what makes it so attractive. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean the information gathered isn’t valuable or comprehensive. In fact just the opposite is true. Many of our clients will ask us to walk them through the Google Analytics interface to help them understand what exactly they are looking at. To help clients, prospects and others understand the key data points to measure, Flashpoint Marketing has provided a list of the top 3 metrics to monitor on an ongoing basis.

Top 3 Metrics to Measure

Measurement is important for reporting reasons, but it will also provide important details about how you can improve your website and the overall visitor experience.

  • Audience Overview – This is the first thing you see when logging into your Google Analytics account. The overview section provides critical information on the number of visitors, page views, pages per visit, visit duration and bounce rate. These metrics provide a good summary of how your website is performing overall. This is true because not only can you determine how many people are coming to your site, but also how much content they are looking at and how long they are staying. Both of these speak directly to visitor engagement. If you are just starting out the best thing to do is compare these numbers month over month to looks for trends or changes in visitor behavior. If your inbound marketing program is effective you will see an increase in several of these categories.
  • Sources – This is another important metric because it provides the details of how people are finding your website. As an example, a newly launched website may experience more direct traffic because clients and referral partners are directly going there to see the new site. A more “seasoned” site will see less direct traffic and more search engine referred traffic. As an inbound marketing program matures this will change and there will be a variation between sources. In our experience, most CPA Firm websites generate traffic mainly from search engines – primarily Google, direct referrals and then a number of inbound link sources such as Chambers of Commerce, social media, firm blogs and other such websites.
  • Landing & Exit Pages – This is an important metric because it lets you know where visitors are entering your site and where they are exiting. For firms not leveraging a complex Pay per Click (PPC) or SEO strategy, the most popular landing page will be your home page. However, when and where site visitors are leaving your site can be very telling about your website and the associated content. If visitors are “digging” deep into the site, it may reveal that finding information they are seeking is complex and difficult. It may also indicate that you are not properly promoting content in a way that motivates visitors to further explore the site. Beyond content exploration knowing from which page visitors are exiting the site is also important. If a high number of visitors exit the site from the same page it may indicate dissatisfaction with content, or the lack of a clear call to action. It may also mean they were looking for a specific piece of content but became frustrated and left when it could not be found.  If you notice a high concentration of visitors exiting the site from the same page it should be a clue that you need to review that content.

In Perspective

If you are looking for a starting point, remember Google Analytics is a powerful application that measures web traffic in thousands of different ways. It’s best to start slowly and measure the basics first. Once you have developed some acumen using the application then you can expand your knowledge and discover other key tools to leverage within the application.

 


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