The online world is fiercely competitive, with over 1 billion websites already in existence. Embrace a data-driven approach for growth by measuring metrics for website traffic. Collect and analyze data from your visitors to gain insights into how they interact with your website and content.
In this article, we’ll explain the key metrics that can inform you about your website’s health and its content. Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about producing, rewriting, or removing content.
Your website metrics serve as a compass – or a guiding star – that can help you navigate toward online success.
Every action a visitor takes can provide insights into their preferences, interests, and needs. Understanding what motivates your visitors will help you serve them better and, as a result, increase your chances of success.
Okay, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Key Metrics to Monitor
Analytics tools gather many different metrics for website traffic, but which metrics matter the most? In this section, we’ll explore the vital metrics you should track to understand your website’s performance.
Many of the screenshots below show metrics over a three month period. Analytics tools can sum up metrics over many different ranges. Here is how you can select the date range in Clicky:
Examining metrics over an extended period can be helpful, especially for identifying trends. On other occasions, when you’ve made changes to your site, you may want to check the current site traffic.
Alright, let’s dive into the metrics for website traffic…
Traffic Volume Metrics
Do you know how much traffic your website is getting? It’s a crucial metric, and you should definitely keep a close eye on it.
Total Website Visitors
First metric for website traffic you want to know is how many website visitors are you getting? Here is the screenshot in Clicky:
The number of visitors to your site should increase over time – assuming you are continuing to create new content.
What could cause this metric to go down?
- Your rankings have dropped resulting in less search traffic
- The topic is less popular over time – especially true for trendy content
- Technical problems with your site (Is it slowing down?)
If you are not sure then you may have to dive deeper and look at other metrics to pinpoint the issue.
This metric is similar to the Visitors metric, but it focuses on counting only unique visitors. In other words, each visitor is counted only once per day. For example, if someone visits your site multiple times in a day, they will be counted only once, even if they visit your site 10 times in a single day.
This metric should show steady growth over time. Troubleshoot it in the same way as you would with the visitor metric.
The pageviews metric is excellent for identifying and resolving issues related to individual web pages. It allows you to determine which content is performing well, identify evergreen content that consistently performs over an extended period, and pinpoint content that, for various reasons, isn’t attracting any traffic.
Sometimes, your content will not perform well no matter how much time and effort you put into it. There’s no surefire way to predict what content will truly connect with your audience. Nevertheless, it’s worth examining underperforming content to identify any glaring issues, such as:
- Targeted keyword has no traffic or is too difficult to rank for
- Too many paid ads for keyword
- Poor readability (typos, bad grammar or just difficult to read)
- Large images causing slow loading of page
- It’s not internally linked from your other content, making it difficult for visitors to discover.
Useful articles to help you fix underperforming content:
Properly size images for WordPress blogs and websites (fix slow loading images)
Depending on your analytics tool, you might have access to metrics for previous and next pages. For a specific page, you can track the page a visitor was on before clicking the link to this page and the page they visited afterward.
This information is valuable for understanding how visitors navigate your site. Do they rely on navigation links, sidebar links, or footer links? Or do they click on internal links within your content pages?
The next set of metrics revolves around the origins of your visitors. Are they coming from advertising, social media, or search engines? If you’re running paid advertisements, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting a solid return on your investment. Likewise, if you invest significant time in social media to promote your blog or website, you’ll want to ensure that you’re generating traffic from these efforts.
For most websites, receiving free search traffic is crucial (free search traffic is also called organic search traffic).
Search traffic can provide free, consistent, daily traffic to your website.
The amount of upfront time and effort needed can be substantial, possibly taking years in a competitive niche before you begin to see consistent traffic.
However, the potential rewards are substantial as well. Once you achieve first-page rankings for multiple niche keywords, it can lead to significant traffic for your website, along with additional benefits like increased sales, ad revenue, sponsorships, and more.
Referral traffic is traffic you receive from other websites. These links, called backlinks, are links from other websites to content on your website. These backlinks are an important ranking signal for Google – most first-page ranking content will have backlinks.
What are the benefits of receiving referral traffic?
Increased visibility of your website – your content will reach a wider audience, especially if the referring website has more traffic than you.
Better search ranking potential – Backlinks (links from other websites) signal to Google other people find your content valuable and relevant. This is an important signal to Google to rank your content higher.
Stronger engagement – People coming from related websites are more likely to be your target audience and will therefore more strongly engage with your content resulting in longer session duration, lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
How to boost your referral traffic:
- Create high quality content – this is nearly always the answer to every SEO related question, it’s true here as well
- Reach out to content creators in related niches and form mutually beneficial relationships with them
- Promote your content – On social media, email newsletters or using other types of digital media (podcasts / video)
User Behavior Metrics
User behavior metrics help you better understand how visitors interact with your website and content.
Use these metrics to provide insights into:
- How visitors behave on your website
- What they like – and dislike
- How they engage with your content
Analyzing user behavior metrics can help identify areas for improvement in your content, navigation and layout of your website.
More on metrics that track user behavior:
Bounce rate is a metric for website traffic that measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. In other words, they “bounce” away from the website without interacting with any other pages.
This is an important metric to understand whether your content is relevant for searchers. A high bounce rate indicates your content is not relevant or useful to visitors.
Keep in mind different different types of websites will naturally have different bounce rates, for example:
- Content websites: 40-60% bounce rate
- E-Commerce website: 20-45% bounce rate
- Serviced based websites (doctor, lawyer etc): 10-30%
Learn more about bounce rates and how to reduce them
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is a website metric that measures the average amount of time visitors spend on a website during a single session.
A session is the time a user is engaged with a website. A session starts when a user visits your website and ends when they leave the website – or become inactive (typically 30 minutes).
This metric is important as it indicates how engaged your visitors are with your content overall – not just a single page. If they enjoyed the initial page they may decide to view other pages causing the average session duration to increase.
Not getting the average session duration you want? Here are some steps to help you improve this important metric:
- Better navigation on your website – make it easy to find related content
- Simpler layout – reduce clutter, improve loading times
- Improve readability – are your font sizes big enough? How about color contrast, white space?
- Make your website faster to load – visitors are impatient, use a fast theme and fewer plugins
- Your hosting provider affects the performance (and security) of your website
Improving average session duration will result in higher conversion rates, lower bounce rates and, ultimately, higer ranking potential.
Related content on how to boost average session duration:
Use an image compression service – for a faster loading website
Choose a Simple WordPress theme for your blog – for WordPress users
Using SiteGround as your global hosting provider – choose a good hosting provider
Mobile Traffic Metrics
Analytics tools allow you to analyze your traffic segmented by platform. Typical segments you can filter by are:
- Web browser
- Operating System
- Screen resolutions
This can provide valuable insights into the devices your visitors use and the most popular screen resolutions.
Notice from the above screenshot, for each device you can see visitors, average actions, time and bounce rate.
Nowadays, about 50% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure your content looks good on these devices.
Track the following mobile metrics using your analytics tool:
- Mobile traffic share
- Screen resolutions share
- Bounce rate
- Average Session Duration
Useful related articles:
Tools for Tracking Metrics
Popular tools for tracking metrics are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. For new website owners and beginners I find Google Analytics can be hard to configure and use, so I recommend Clicky, which is free to use and setup takes only a few minutes.
I use a combination of Clicky and Google Search Console to measure traffic to this site. Google Search Console tracks keyword impressions for your site and can calculate CTRs (Click-Through Rates) for your pages. It also allows you to check the indexing status of your content and, if necessary, request indexing for a page.
Measuring important metrics on your website traffic allows you to identify areas for improvement and determine which content is performing well. Do more of what works and remove or rewrite poorly performing content.
Final thoughts on metrics for website traffic
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this article useful and informative. Here is a quick summary:
- Traffic volume metrics: Total Visitors, Unique Visitors, Pageview
- Traffic sources: Search traffic, referral traffic including social media referrals
- User behaviour metrics: Bounce rate, average session duration
- Mobile traffic metrics: Hardware, screen resolutions
- Pick an easy to use analytics tool to measure and track these metrics
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