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Podcast Episode 34: Website Stats You Should Actually Pay Attention To

Jeffrey Lambert
Sep 27, 2019 4:41:35 PM

This episode is all about analytics. In this age of data, it can be confusing to know which statistics to pay attention to when reviewing your website's performance. We’ll tell you the ones to actually pay attention to.


Episode Transcript

Jeff Lambert:                00:00                If you're a small business owner, it's so exciting to finally launch that website and see people start coming to make visits. And if you're a marketer just starting off, it's also equally exciting to start working for a client and finding ways to help them improve traffic to their website. But we live in an age of data mining and trend analysis and marketers and small business owners. They have to know what to look for when measuring meaningful website growth. Not all statistics are created equal. We'll break down which website stats you should actually pay attention to when growing your business. Right here on inbound academy.

Jeff Lambert:                00:52                Hello everybody and welcome to Inbound Academy brought to you by Rizen Inbound. I'm your host Jeff Lambert. This episode is all about analytics. In this age of data, it can be confusing to know which statistics to pay attention to and what they're really telling you. While you can pull data for any facet of your business from social media to converted sales. We're gonna focus specifically on stats from your website and what you should be paying attention to to see how successful your site is actually doing. So to talk about this topic, I've invited will Avila back into the studio. For those of you new to the podcast, he is the COO at Rizen and he has been using data to drive smart marketing decisions for over a decade. Will, thanks for coming to the podcast.

William Avila:                01:40                Thanks for having me Jeff.

Jeff Lambert:                01:42                So before we get started, you know, especially for people who may have not turned into the podcast before, what's your experience in building websites? How many have you made? How deep into this have you gone?

William Avila:                01:57                Okay, good question. So I haven't per se built any websites. You know, I realized very early on that I did not want to code. I did take classes for it and I have worked with developers over many years, but I've probably overseen with everything from the writers to designers to the programmers, whether it's programming, getting a website on Wordpress, Hubspot, Drupal, Joomla, or Magento I'd say over 70 websites that I've been directly involved from start to finish working on wire frames and logic, et cetera.

Jeff Lambert:                02:43                So this is a topic you are really intimately familiar with, you could say, Huh?

William Avila:                02:48                Oh yeah, absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                02:50                So, you know, I'm coming at this from an amateur's perspective. I've built some websites for different companies that have started and you know, when I jump into the metrics on the site, especially at looking at it from a non marketing background, the first thing you look at is page views. And that's really all you pay attention to. But that can be misleading and there's so much more to the story. And that's why I wanted to have you on to talk about this a little bit more. So, you know, going on this topic, I think one place a lot of people get stuck on when they're looking at their businesses website, they get stuck on these things called vanity metrics. And I just wanted to define that term. What is a vanity metric?

William Avila:                03:27                Sure. You know, vanity metrics is something that it looks great on paper or poor depending on the results, but it doesn't necessarily play a significant role in the big picture. An example would be like Facebook followers. I have a thousand Facebook followers, you know, that that number is not really actionable. You know, how many people have visited your site, download a piece of content and talk to your sales team? That's what really matters, you know, and understanding the vanity metrics and the role they play, not that a thousand Facebook followers is not a good thing. Because you know an engage audiences great. You know, but what does that thousand people doing for you?

Jeff Lambert:                04:09                You know, and not getting off topic either, but if you're just looking at friends on Facebook or if you're just looking at views on a page, those are things that you can even purchase nowadays. Right?

William Avila:                04:18                Absolutely. Yeah. There's whole industries built around circumventing Google, Facebook, Twitter, there's bots, et cetera. So having a lot of people that are, that are not really interested in your product or brand or service isn't really doing anything for you aside from giving you cool, you know, 1000 followers or, or you know, 15,000 Twitter followers or something, something to brag about, but that's not going to impact anything down the road.

Jeff Lambert:                04:49                Okay. That makes sense. And Google has to get smarter as each year goes on to kind of beat these cheats to the system. So let's talk about that. What are some things that, you know, small business owners or marketers that are just starting off with clients outside of just page views? What are some important metrics that really we should pay attention to? Why don't we start off with with one you think is just really important to look at.

William Avila:                05:14                Sure. You know, and before I go into that, I, it's funny that you say how, you know, people are trying to game the system. And you know I always tell people "don't try to outsmart thousands of our brightest engineers in the world that work at Google." If you get a short victory, rest assured it's not gonna pay off long-term for you. So that's kinda my thought process on that. And, you know, going back to the question, you know, I'd say probably one of the important metrics to look at is then it's obvious it's website traffic, right? You know, and it's important to break down this down. Not, not just to say "total traffic, a thousand people" you know? You really want to understand the traffic by source.

Jeff Lambert:                06:01                Can we talk about some of those specific sources?

William Avila:                06:04                Absolutely. So we have organic, so these are people who went to your website as a result of their own research, right? Usually from a search engine. So if I'm looking for a plumber in Miami and I get I'm going to get results, paid results, and probably Google local results A, B, C, D and then you're gonna get the organic results, right? So the organic and is gonna fall in within the Google paid ads and the actual art below it that has no addresses. So there's like a blend. Then there's actually a way to differentiate between that traffic. But for now, for the scope of this conversation, I don't think it's important to get into it. So there's organic traffic. And you know, keep in mind that organic traffic can be skewed with direct traffic, which is the next one, because direct traffic is people who actually type in your website.

William Avila:                07:08                So if I tell you, "hey, this company installs excellent impact windows" and then you go ahead in your browser and you type in that is considered direct traffic. And that's being tracked. When somebody types in directly versus somebody who I gave that information to goes on Google and searches on the Google search bar "Alco Impact" and the first organic result is going to be "Alco Impact" most probably. So there's, there's usually some kind of blender with a brand name kind of gets involved with the organic traffic, but that's just data that is going to overlap and there's nothing really to do about that for the most part.

Jeff Lambert:                07:56                Oh, I see. Okay. So that makes sense. The difference, andthis may be a little bit off topic, but maybe you tell me the website, "" and I type in "" That's going to take me to a search engine, Right? But that still counts as organic traffic, is that correct?

William Avila:                08:11                Yeah. Well if you, if you type "impactalco" and the first result is "" and you click on it, it's going to count as organic. Only if you type in would that account as direct and your website hosting is tracking this information which pushes it over to your other analytics softwares.

Jeff Lambert:                08:37                So direct would probably be the easiest one to manipulate if I was trying to game the system. Is that correct?

William Avila:                08:42                Sure, yeah. You can inflate your direct traffic if you type in a ton. I mean it's not, I mean, it's not something that if you did it over and over and over there's, you know, there's rules even within Google analytics. There's session information and stuff like that. But yeah, you can theoretically, If you really wanted to, inflate direct and organic for that matter.

Jeff Lambert:                09:07                Okay. So, which is why we're looking at a lot of different metrics within website traffic. So we have organic, we have direct, what are some other, I guess sub data points we should be looking at?

William Avila:                09:19                Sure. There's referral traffic. So that's traffic that came from another website by a link. For example, common referral traffic is Yelp or the Better Business Bureau. You could be like an attorney referral site. So let's go use the attorney example. So, they're a business and they have a section where you can leave reviews on lawyers and they can, from Avo, click on the link of the website. So let's just say the attorney's name is Addie, right? Addie Bankruptcy Law Firm. So they're on Avo and they see Addie has a lot of great reviews. They click the website link in the app on the page and it takes them to "" That's considered referral traffic. So you can see that information with, with the different analytics tools in that. And that's a common follow element that you can see. So it's good to know because it'll help you understand like, "oh, wow, Yelp really drives me a lot of business, so I need to make sure I maintain my Yelp reputation" right? Or, "Ooh, my Avo website, my Avo profile is very important. People are giving me reviews. I need to make sure I maintain that."

Jeff Lambert:                10:46                Sure, sure. So those third party sites, they really play an impact on your website traffic as we can see?

William Avila:                10:50                Yes, absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                10:52                Now what about social media? How does that play into this?

William Avila:                10:56                Yeah, so you know, there you can track paid social and regular social. So social media is Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit all of them. And anything that falls in there, social, there's more obscure sites. But that's metrics that you want to view separately. Because let's say that, you know, Facebook is driving you a lot of leads and so then it's an indicator for you to make sure that you maintain your Facebook page, or Instagram for that matter. So referral traffic and social are similar but in the difference that they're more like social media tools. And then I mentioned paid. So there's Facebook paid. There's Google paid, there's LinkedIn pain, there's Twitter paid. So the those sites and you know these, these companies make their most of their revenue advertising and we pay that advertising, right? That is something that is being promoted, a piece of content or whatever it is. So that's the other traffic that you will see. That is important. You know, you really want to separate your traffic by source. Like I just went over all these different sources to identify the opportunities and to see what's working and what's not.

Jeff Lambert:                12:18                Okay. So website traffic is definitely more complicated than it first looks. It's more than just the amount of page views. It's important to drill down and see where those views are coming from. So my question would be, I guess on the next front will, how can I analyze that topic? Where do I go to see the breakdown of where all of my views are coming from?

William Avila:                12:38                Sure. you know, every website should have installed the free tool, Google Analytics, right? It's a free tool. And it has the capability to view your data. There's tools that make the actual analysis of data easier and prettier. Like for example you haveHubspot, you have Marketo, you have other marketing automation platforms. There's even competitors to Google Analytics there but you would use these tools to get the best insight.

Jeff Lambert:                13:10                Okay, that makes sense. And I know this could be a completely other podcast for us to cover, but I guess maybe in a nutshell, one piece of advice you could give listeners. Is there anything I can do to make my website traffic grow in a meaningful way?

William Avila:                13:24                Yeah. you know, every business is different. And you want to get traffic that is turning into leads, which will eventually turn into a customer. So you know, you're going to optimize. For example, I said before, if you are a contractor, then Yelp is going to be a good place to optimize for you to get more traffic. Right? You have to determine where you'll market yourself as a business. If you need to be on an industry website, for example a fashion website, if you sell fashion clothing, that's another thing that you want to optimize yourself for externally. Right? and then you want to obviously work on the content that you create for your blogging, your site.

Jeff Lambert:                14:14                Got It. So it's really about going where the people are. You have to find your audience,

Speaker 3:                    14:18                Right? Going where you're at. Like you said, Coyne, where your target audience is that and giving them the information they need so that they become traffic.

Jeff Lambert:                14:27                Got It. That makes sense. Okay. So we've talked about website traffic being an important metric to look at, but not just the broad stroke website traffic, the kind of drilling down and looking at the subtopics within that. What is another metric we should be looking at in terms of website stats?

William Avila:                14:46                Sure. you know, I don't want to say this is a metric that you look at every week, but you do want to look at your site load speed. Especially as you're updating your site and you're improving it, right? And you should be improving it on a continual basis, not only when you redesign it. So we've all seen those sites that take too long and then we just give up, right? And we don't want to wait that long. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

Jeff Lambert:                15:20                I can see that to be true. There have been times that I've logged onto a site and you know, I can think a lot of times the issue usually that I've found or online vendors or even news sites where there's just so many ads bogging it down. And I agree probably three to five seconds in if that thing's not loading, I'm moving on to another webpage.

William Avila:                15:39                Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                15:42                So what's a good load time that we should be shooting for as a website?

William Avila:                15:47                You know, Google says three seconds, but you know, the faster the better. But there are going to be different scenarios because you may have, for example, a website that serves in news and they get paid via content by advertisement, right? They're going to have video popups and all kinds of crazy things. You know, that's slowing the site down. In that case it won't be longer or faster than three seconds. You know, after 10 seconds is where studies show people move on to other sites. So unless you have some really important or engaging content that you know they're going to wait for, you want to make sure that you are looking at your site's load speed on some kind of cadence, whether it's monthly or quarterly. And just keep in mind also that with regards to full time, you want to think about this in terms of what you're putting on the site, right? Like for example pictures and other stuff like that that we can go into now.

Jeff Lambert:                16:56                Sure. Yeah. Why don't we jump into talking about ways to optimize your site. So your page load speed is more more quick, you know, a little speedier than it once was before. AretThere simple ways that you can fix that?

William Avila:                17:10                Yeah. absolutely. You know, there are, I'm gonna mention probably the three main things, but there are tools out there like Google Page Speed Insights and there's other tools out there that will give you an idea of how your website is loading in Miami, in New York, California, and then in Europe, et cetera. And they'll give you like an average. They'll test it across many different servers throughout the world. And you know I think it's important to differentiate. It's not really site, it's more like it's more page load speed, right? Every page is going to look different because every page is different. So I would say to optimize, usually the biggest culprit is image sizes on pages. You know, even though you know, you may want to have that really high resolution, big picture., But yeah, sometimes we have to sacrifice and make sure that those image sizes are reasonable.

William Avila:                18:09                The other thing is, and this is tech talk here, you want to minify your CSS and javascript files. And when you load these analysis tools out there, like Google Page Speed Insights, it will tell you a lot of those information and that's something that your developer can do for you. Or if you're a developer, you know what I'm talking about.

William Avila:                18:28                And then I'd say the last thing which happens is a website cache. So basically, you know, you have a site that's being updated. You have the home page which is going through revision two or revisions three, revision four, you know, I mean, if you're doing things the right way, you're always testing out your important pages and trying to improve them. So as you create these iterations it causes issues these, these improvement iterations, it causes this slow down the website. That will require you to clear the website cache counting, flushing the memory, or clearing the trash bin if you have a Mac. So those are the, I'd say the three main things that you want to optimize for

Jeff Lambert:                19:15                Sure. Okay. And you know, some of those can be done quickly. Some of them, like you said, you'll need to possibly rely on your support staff to help you finish. But those are direct ways to do it. So all good information. So we've talked about website tools. We've talked about site load speed. What's another metric that we should pay attention to when we're looking at overall website performance?

William Avila:                19:37                Sure. You know I think the next one we can talk about is bounce rate. What is the percentage of site visitors leaving your website right after they arrive? You know, obviously this should be as low as possible. You know, and let's talk about bounce rate, right? Cause this is a topic that we can get in depth here.

Jeff Lambert:                20:00                Well, before we jump into this a little bit more, you know, especially for someone that's never looked at this metric, just to provide an example, let's say that I'm in Wordpress and I noticed that a blog post has a bounce rate of 76%. What does that mean?

William Avila:                20:14                Sure. So, you know, let's talk about that blog post, right? So let me just create a hypothetical blog post here and let's say that I want to know everything there is to know about impact windows, right? And that blog post has everything there is to know. I mean everything there is to know. So impact windows, colors, pressures, sizes, finishes. So I mean it doesn't matter what it is, you wanna make sure that your content is comprehensive. So if somebody is typing in and searching something within that blog post, everything there is to know about impact windows, do to make sure you cover everything. Because what ends up happening is - and this has happened to you, and happened to me. Whenever we're researching something, we're usually looking at two, three, four, five different sites, right?

William Avila:                21:17                So you want to make sure you have all the information in that blog post, whatever it is that you're covering, make sure whatever blog posts it is, does it pass muster? Is it really something that that covers everything? Is it really comprehensive? Do you have, for example, videos to augment what explaining perhaps? Or infographics, right? You know, that's something that you want to think about. And you know a 76% you may have, you may have a blog post that is performing that, maybe driving five leads a month. It drives customers consistently over and over. So do we want to work on improving it? Sure we can, but that 76% versus 100% wouldn't be the worst. Obviously we have to look at it from the bigger picture. You know, you could go from 90% to 76% and 70%.76% would be great. Right? so just think about bounce rate as in terms of the bigger picture.

Jeff Lambert:                22:26                Got It. No. Going back to the example you just gave, I mean, if I have, if I have a webpage that is a bounce rate of 100%, that means people are literally spending one second on the page and then going somewhere else. Right?

William Avila:                22:37                Right. And that's not common. A hundred percent bounce rate.

Jeff Lambert:                22:40                So the goal is to, like you said, it's a mix, and I think we'll talk about this more in a second, but if you have a higher bounce rate that's at least something you should dig a little bit more deeply into in terms of seeing why people are going away from that page so quickly?

William Avila:                22:54                Yeah. I mean, you wanna look at the goal of your page, right? So if you have a landing page that you're using for Google Adwords, you probably don't want them navigating anywhere. So it is gonna have that high bounce rate and might have that 100% bounce rate. But that's okay. Right? you didn't want them to go anywhere. So for that page I wouldn't be worried. Maybe you want to get it lower. Maybe you want to look at another page, like your homepage. They're going to go to the homepage and then they're going to go to your case studies page. Then they're gonna go to your contact us page. Then they're going to go to your pricing page. Those are going to have lower bounce rates and those you want to optimize as part of your funnel. But like I said, this is why I said this is something that we can go into deeply. But you know, think about what your goal is for that page and optimize for that goal based on whether it's Google Adwords, traffic, whether it's your homepage, whether it's a blog post, et cetera.

Jeff Lambert:                24:04                Sure. Some pages do not need people staying on them for a long time in order to be effective.

William Avila:                24:09                Correct, yes.

Jeff Lambert:                24:11                Got It. Okay. So why don't we talk a little bit about ways to analyze that. How do I find the bounce rate for all of the pages on my website?

William Avila:                24:20                Yeah. Google Analytics has that information. Hubspot, all the softwares have this data. You know, the cadence of when to check this obviously would be as you make changes or you do A/B tests or multivariate tests on your pages, that would be a good time to look at that data after an experiment. But yeah, the ways to check those, it's pretty common.

Jeff Lambert:                24:48                Okay. So Google Analytics. It sounds more and more like that silver bullet, you know? Just a way to get the best statistics to find out what's going on with your site. Do you have any suggestions on how you can improve bounce rate on your pages?

William Avila:                25:05                Yeah. Some quick tips are like look through the first few paragraphs of each blog post. Are they engaging? Check all your content regularly to make sure it's engaging. So you want to review it because a competitor may have put out a great piece of content that's much better than yours, has more videos, more infographics, more data, a white paper. Check the blog posts and see if the content actually answers audience's questions. Is it of value? I always say "would you write it like it was for your wife or your mom?" Is it quality up there or you just did it because you have to get a piece of content up? You know, that's the difference between quality and content.

Jeff Lambert:                25:57                Sure. And that's becoming more and more important in search results and how Google determines what's important and what's not, you know, if something's of value or not to the readers. So to your point, absolutely. So we talked about website traffic and all of the sub metrics to look at there. We talked about page load speed and we just talked about bounce rate. Do you have any other stats that you would recommend that business owners or marketers look at that really matter?

William Avila:                26:23                Yeah, I would say visitor to contact rate is another one that's very important. So you know, this is something that I would look at weekly and monthly, minimum. Monthly. For example, you got 20 leads out of a hundred website visitors, right? So that's 20%, and that's something that you want to understand how much of your leads are coming as a result of your traffic and then break it down further. Out of those hundred visitors maybe the ones that drove all of those leads, those 20 leads was Facebook for example, right? Or Facebook paid for example, or Google Adwords. So you really want to understand the percentages of visitor to leads (or contacts) so that you can know where to optimize what's working and what's not.

Jeff Lambert:                27:29                So it's really looking at when does someone stop being just a visitor to my page and someone who's actually interacting with my content, or wanting to learn more about a product or service?

William Avila:                27:42                Well I would say a lead is somebody that gave you their information already, right? So they put their first name, last name, email, or they called your number. And you were able to log in the system to see them as a lead. So if you got a hundred visitors and you get 20 leads, you may not have all the data but you have some data from these people.

Jeff Lambert:                28:04                Got It. Okay. are there any ways that you recommend being able to come up with this number to be able to produce this rate that you're referring to?

William Avila:                28:16                Yeah, you divide the contacts or leads by the traffic and then you can do that by lead source. So you can divide the organic traffic by the number of leads or contacts that you got.

Jeff Lambert:                28:29                Got It. That's easy enough as a formula to remember. Okay. So what are some ways that you can optimize your site to improve this metric?

William Avila:                28:37                Adding live chat is one way that you can one more of an increase in some cases because some people will give you maybe one a little bit more information and you can engage them through a live chat, right? You know, you can try different call to actions and offer like 10% off. Or a "Book Me Now" free demo, or a "Subscribe to Our Webinar" button. You want to offer more value, like a white paper or an ebook. So that's what I would do to optimize to improve the traffic to contact lead ratio.

Jeff Lambert:                29:13                Okay. Well, so let's go with one final metric that you think is important for individuals to look at when judging the performance of their site.

William Avila:                29:25                I would say the contact to customer rate, and this is same example as above. So you've got 20 leads and you closed five of them. That's a 25% contact to customer rate. So you're moving and your website, these people are moving through a funnel. A hundred visitors, to have 20 leads of which five of that you closed. And you want to understand of those five that you closed, what was the medium? Was it more organic? Was it Facebook, was it Google Adwords? Because you can get a lot of leads but you know, the revenue is ultimately every business's goal.

Jeff Lambert:                30:16                That makes sense. Well, so you know, just to recap there, we're talking about the visitor to contact ratio and then those contacts, contacts to customers is what you're saying. So moving them all the way through the funnel is the goal here, right? Contacts or leads?

William Avila:                30:33                Right. Contacts or leads.

Jeff Lambert:                30:37                So you, you know, and you bring up a good point. It's easy to look and see, you know, and say, "well, I'm getting 5,000 website visits a month, that's great." But if none of those visitors are turning into, like you said, people that are giving personal information because they want to learn more about your product or if they're not purchasing anything from you, then there's really no movement in terms of success for your product or your service.

William Avila:                30:59                Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Jeff Lambert:                31:01                That makes sense. So why don't we talk about ways to optimize the contact to customer rate? How can I make that happen?

William Avila:                31:10                Okay. So now you're talking about moving a lead into giving you business, right? And not going into the things like you know, "is your product price-right?" How do you look versus your competitors? What's your pricing? What are your reviews? Assuming that you have that in order, I would say use automations. For example, if they visited a price page and they don't convert, you can send them an email for a discount, for example. That would be something you can do. You know, you would want to test out different things, doing things like conversion rate optimization and, well that's a whole other podcast. But you know, testing out to see how you move contacts to to customers, and you test out different messaging call to actions. Again, use automations during different stages and offer value. Once again those are the things you can do to optimize, but definitely something that is a conversion rate optimization field.

Jeff Lambert:                32:26                Sure. And like you were saying, a lot of websites...I shouldn't even say websites...a lot of services, CRMs that you pay for offer some of these automation services you're referring to, correct?

William Avila:                32:37                Yes. You know, like we use Hubspot, there's Marketo, Pardot, etc. There's Infusionsoft. So they all offer those.

Jeff Lambert:                32:47                Automations or workflows. Got It. And just to give an example, you mentioned a couple of them, but you know, I think of one that's happened to me recently. If I'm on a site and I put something in my shopping cart and I abandoned the page for whatever reason, if I get a follow-up email saying "continue shopping - you left these in your cart." That would be an example of an automation, correct?

William Avila:                33:08                Yes, absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                33:09                Okay. All right. So recapping, Will, we talked about five metrics that are important for websites to measure in terms of performance. So we talked about traffic, website traffic, we talked about page load speed, we talked about bounce rate, we talked about the visitor to contact ratio, and then we talked about the contact or lead to customer ratio. So those are the five areas that marketers and SMBs should pay attention to when their websites are getting analyzed and evaluated.

Jeff Lambert:                33:47                So for our marketers and for our independent business owners or small business owners, here are five ways that you can start getting more value from looking at the stats on your website and frequencies that you can also use to really check in on this to make sure that you're looking at it on an important rolling basis. So Will, thank you for providing these tips to our listeners and hopefully we'll have you back on the show again soon.

William Avila:                34:13                Thank you for having me Jeff.

Jeff Lambert:                34:14                And with that, I'd like to thank everybody for joining us for another episode today. Remember, you can expect a new episode every week, always filled with advice that's going to help you grow your business. And remember, if you're looking for an experienced, friendly and results driven team to help you, check out, Rizen by going to go That's Risen with a "z." You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin by searching for the username "RizenInbound." That's one word, "RizenInbound." Remember, you can also help us reach new people by leaving a review on your podcast app of choice. Thanks for your support, and we'll see you on the next episode. .


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