What is your website’s goal, and what are the key performance indicators (website KPIs) that help determine if that goal will be reached?
These two questions are rarely asked and seldom answered. Setting website goals and determining how to meet them will help streamline your time and resources.
Think about it this way: a goal encourages you to aim for a broad, important target. One example is, “I want to climb to the top of a mountain in three days.” KPIs help you define, measure, and improve your goal-meeting strategies. For example, “I climbed 10 miles today. How many miles do I need to climb over the next two days to meet my goal of reaching 50 miles total?”
Note that different types of businesses will have different goals and website KPIs. Here are three examples of potential goals and KPIs tailored to different types of websites:
- Recipe blog
- Goal: I want my blog to bring in $10,000 over six months.
- KPIs: Average ad income per blog post, average affiliate marketing income per blog post, and number of new email subscribers per month.
- Local restaurant website
- Goal: I want to bolster my restaurant sales by 30% in 12 months.
- KPIs: Number of people using the promotion offered exclusively on my website, the number of takeout orders placed online per month, the monthly increase in local website traffic.
- National ecommerce company
- Goal: I want to sell 50% more gift cards this holiday season than last year.
- KPIs: Number of email signups for gift sales specials, number of clicks on links to special sales promotions.
Make sure your goals are specific. Instead of a vague goal like “I want to get more email subscribers,” set a measurable goal like “I want to double my number of email subscribers over six months.”
Measuring website KPIs
Once you define the KPIs specific to your website, follow these steps:
- Determine how you’ll measure them.
- Decide who will measure them.
- Specify how frequently you’re going to measure them.
If you have a WordPress.com website, you can use the built-in website performance metrics to measure your KPIs. If you’re a WordPress.com Business plan owner, you have access to even more robust metrics and reporting programs through Google Analytics.
Put KPI reviews on your calendar as priority items, as they determine whether you’ll achieve your website goals in a timely manner.
Next, let’s discus a taboo subject: failure. What if your goal was to collect 100 user email addresses per month, but you only received 20 over the past two months? By measuring your KPI, you discovered a problem that you can address.
Now that you’ve recognized a performance barrier, it’s time to make changes, measure the next round of results, and decide whether those changes are working or if a new course of action is required. Maybe you need to change the color of your “Join Our Mailing List” button to make it more attractive to site visitors. Perhaps you should change the location of the email signup form to a more prominent spot on your website. Welcome failures as opportunities for improvement. Under this paradigm, the more you fail, the more you improve.
Beware of vanity metrics
Wouldn’t it be great if your latest blog post was shared a million times and drove tons of traffic to your website? It would certainly make you feel good; however, it might not actually help meet your goal of increasing sales by 40% this year — especially if your target audience isn’t sharing and reading your post.
This phenomenon is called vanity metrics. With vanity metrics, you focus on attractive numbers that don’t actually support your end goal, causing you to lose sight of the more important aspects of your business (like sales). Make sure that your KPIs measure things that are essential for accomplishing your larger business and brand goals.
Now you’re ready to set goals and create KPIs for your website. Over time, you’ll be amazed at how this process reinforces your goals and drives you to be a more successful business owner.