Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Aren’t the Entire Story

Tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) can reveal what you’re getting in return for the time, energy, and resources invested into your website. Before you begin setting goals, it’s important to understand what KPIs are, why they matter, and which metrics you should track to accurately measure your site’s success.

What are KPIs?

According to The Balance, key performance indicators are metrics that signal progress towards an intended result. In other words, they’re the numbers that you track to measure your business’s growth over time.

Why KPIs matter

If you don’t know how much money your business brings in, how much you’re spending on it, or how many new customers it attracts each month, you won’t be positioned to make informed decisions.

Key performance indicators allow you to quantify successes or failures so that you can improve your services and business as a whole.

Determining which KPIs to track

There are numerous KPIs that you can track. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Profit and loss
  • Customer retention
  • Website traffic
  • Social engagement
  • Audience growth

While you might be tempted to track all possible KPIs, it’s important to focus on the metrics that align with your overall business strategy:

  1. Consider your goal: Your business objectives may change, but the KPIs that you track from the beginning should relate to your most important goals. I your goal is to grow your email newsletter by 4,000 new subscribers annually, then keep an eye on your monthly email sign-up rates and landing page traffic.

  2. Set parameters: Next, you’ll need to define your KPIs so that they accurately reflect your site’s performance. If you were monitoring your newsletter landing page traffic, would you take all page visits into account or would you only consider new, unique visitors?

  3. Define success: Lastly, define what a successful outcome would be. If your KPI reveals that you only secured 3,000 new email subscribers by the end of the year, is this still considered positive growth, or did you attract more email subscribers the previous year?

How to measure KPIs

KPIs can be measured in different ways, depending on what you’re tracking. For example, you can monitor your site traffic and visitor growth using analytics tools such as Stats. You can access these from the My Sites tab of your WordPress.com dashboard.

KPIs can also be measured through your email or social media marketing platforms, which generally reveal the number of subscribers or followers that you have, as well as your engagement rates.

Certain KPIs, like financial growth, are more subjective. In those cases, you will need to define your own success and determine the appropriate way to measure it using the tips above.

Incorporate your KPIs into your business strategy

Tracking the right KPIs can help you uncover the health of your business; but it all starts with asking the right questions. Begin by determining what your goals are, then ask yourself which KPIs are the most relevant to those goals. Once you’ve done that, you can map out a strategy to improve your KPIs and achieve site success.

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Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a freelance writer, editor, and SEO specialist from southern California. She is a contributor to The Motley Fool and blogs regularly at The Digital Inkwell.

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