Since the beginning of commerce, businesses both large and small have sought to understand their customer’s behavior. Focus groups and surveys gained popularity in the 20th century and are still a part of many company strategies today. However, the ubiquity of the internet has changed the way that businesses operate. And the field of consumer research is no exception. Companies are now able to gather and analyze data about people that visit their websites, and how those sites appear in search engine results. In examining these statistics, modern businesses are able to gain an understanding of how well a website is working. There is a myriad of information available. By closely monitoring the performance of the key numbers below and making the appropriate adjustments, companies can realize significant increases in website performance (and, ultimately, increase revenue and brand awareness).

Unique visits
Measuring unique visits is the most basic form of statistical analysis. Unique visits is the number of individual people who have visited your website in a given time period. These people are counted only once, regardless of how many times they visit your site. In sales terms, these may be potential customers, and feed the beginning of the conversions process. Companies are happy if this number is growing.

Average Duration of Visit
Is the site’s content interesting and relevant? Is the site easy to navigate and pleasant to look at? These factors determine how much time users are willing to invest in your site. The average session duration is a good indicator of how engaging your website is. When visitors are staying longer, they are generally interacting more and more likely to convert from prospects to customers.

Bounce Rate
Drilling down on Average Duration of Visit, it’s revealing to see which pages are responsible for users leaving a site. A specific page’s bounce rate refers to the rate of customers arriving at that page, and then leaving without performing any action on the site. There are certain instances where this is to be expected, but if a page is intended to engage users and is instead bouncing them off the site, it’s an indication that the message or design of that page needs to be modified.

Conversion Rate
A conversion is whatever a company wants it to be: buy, read, join, etc. A conversion means that the site has accomplished one of it’s goals. Measuring the rate of conversions against visits is a good way to gauge how successful your website is as a tool for your business.

Organic Search Ranking
These are google search result listing that companies don’t have to pay for. A high organic search ranking indicates that a company’s website provides the most relevant and highly-linked content for a particular search keyword. Finding the way to the number one ranking for one of those keywords is the holy grail for many an SEO team. They know that optimization for Google’s changing algorithms is paramount. That means keeping up with web standards, maintaining a website that is easily navigable, and providing relevant, updated, high-quality content.

Page Load Speed
People don’t like waiting. The longer a page takes to load, the more likely users are to leave. Page load time is affected by a combination of factors, including file compression, code optimization, browser caching and image optimization. While speed can be improved by doing things like resizing images, other issues with page load speed can be considerably more complicated to address. If your website is loading slowly, it might require the help of a developer to address certain aspects of the page’s construction.

Using these statistics to analyze a site’s performance gives companies a valuable snapshot into the overall performance of their website. They are relatively simple to understand, and are built on logical user behaviors. There is, of course, much more information that can be gleaned from a site’s user data, but these numbers are a great place to start.