No matter what purpose your website serves, whether its function be e-commerce or a food and recipe blog, you are going to need to analyse how your website is performing. Once upon a time, this would have been a somewhat difficult task for a website owner, but analytics have improved as increasingly more people have begun to use the web. As a result, analytics have become much easier to understand.
Analysing your website’s performance is something every website owner should be doing throughout the year. The metrics that are important to your websites success, such as keywords, can be reviewed during a website analysis. A website can usually always be improved upon, and what weaknesses your website has is typically only discoverable through the use of website analytics. Here are a few ways you can analyse and improve your website’s performance.
Major Metrics that Affect Performance
There many different metrics that you could pour over as website owner when you are analysing its performance, but sometimes it is best to focus in on the ones that matter most. The following are performance metrics that should always be analysed:
- Website speed performance metrics
- Content complexity
- User behaviour
Website speed performance metrics are composed of several parts, including time to title, time to interact, and connection time to name a few. Time to title is how long it takes your title to load and show up on a browsers tab. This is a very important metric, because if it is too slow, you will lose many viewers or customers who are not keen on waiting for anything to load. In short, this makes your website look bad.
Time to interact is how long it takes for the page to load until the user is able to interact with it, such as scrolling or clicking links. This too is important, as you don’t want your audience to become impatient at a seemingly frozen web page and move on. Connection time is the time it takes to for a connection to be established from the users browser and your websites origin server.
Content complexity consist of metric such as overall weight and overall asset count. The overall weight is the total sum of bytes the user receives. Overall asset count is the sum total of assets your website has, such as image counts.
User behaviour is composed of metrics such as bounce rate and error rate. Your bounce rate is how many users came to your website and never came back. Your website’s error rate is the average amount problem requests in comparison to total requests.
These website performance metrics provide valuable insight and shouldn’t be overlooked when analysing your websites performance. “Even tracking the most basic of numbers relating to your website will give you an advantage over someone who doesn’t bother at all. You can use real-world data to confirm what works on your website and what doesn’t, identify room for improvements, and spot any abnormal results (such as those caused by a site outage). That’s why all the top websites will allocate resources to tracking key site metrics—something you should do, too,” says Shaun Quarton. Remember that no matter how intimidating or dull analysing your websites performance may be, it is always worth your time.
Improving Your Site’s SEO, Performance, and Usability
You should use your website’s performance metrics to improve upon your site’s search engine optimisation, performance, and usability. To improve your site’s ranking, or SEO, you will start with the content you publish. It must be high quality, relevant, and full of organically fitting keywords. Michigan Tech offers great advice on how to incorporate keywords fluidly into your content: “Identify a keyword phrase for each page. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page (with phrases like “mechanical engineering in Michigan,” “best applied physics program,” or “Michigan Tech degrees”). Then, repeat this phrase several times throughout the page—once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content.”
You will fare better writing content that averages about 1,500 words per page. This allows you to maximize your content value and keywords. It is important that you focus on writing informative content that your readers will value and be interested in instead of content that will get you a lot of traffic. Websites that write for search engines ironically don’t rank well and usually have a high number of bounces. You want high traffic, but it is meaningless if the user only visits your website once. It is more important to have a loyal following.
Quality content is also full of equally good links. Links that are described well and properly inserted into the text will help to increase your search engine optimization, as opposed to ones that are haphazardly entered in or slapped on the bottom of a page.
Top performing websites have content that is easily digestible and light on the eyes. Never get so fancy with your site’s text and design that you publish content that a user must strain their eyes to read. Many website owners have made this very basic mistake, and it is enough to strip all credibility and authority from a website. Your content should be broken up into easy-to-read paragraphs with the help of subheading, bullet points, and the like. Every website owner has their own unique way of breaking content up in a reader-friendly manner. The point is break up long content so that the readers will stay on the page longer and actually take the time to read it. A website full of long paragraphs and no headings scares many viewers away.
A strong performing website must be user-friendly, and intuitive. Many people make the mistake of over-customising their webpages and providing too many options for their viewers. This makes the website hard to navigate and it will often frustrate users, having the opposite of the intended effect. Stephanie Norman offers great insight as to how to make a website more user friendly, and its importance: “…We have to ensure that navigation of your website is easy. The links and menus must be easy to find and follow. Remember: a dead link means frustration. It’s also important to test your website personally, since you will see small details that you may have missed.” It never hurts to put yourself in your users shoes and view your website from their perspective.
In summation, analysing your websites performance and then improving upon it can be made easy through the use of analytics specifically designed for website analysis. “Reporting helps to see where you’ve been, where you are now and what to do to achieve more in the future. It might sound intense. But it’s exactly the same as what we can do to analyse our site’s performance,” says Holly Sutton
If you have a high bounce rate, then you know your websites content or website is failing in some major way. Looking at how user friendly your site is, your optimization of key words, and quality of content will point you in the right direction of where improvements need to be made. Understanding your website’s performance metrics will help immensely in knowing where changes should first be made.