You’ve spent money on your website.
You’ve invested hours into your blog.
Now it’s time to track the results.
Just like any part of your business, if you want to improve performance you first need to know where you’re at. These are often called KPI’s, or Key Performance Indicators.
Enter your website performance dashboard.
This dashboard will give you the most important numbers you need to track and warn you when you need to make changes.
At BlogWorks, we are checking our website performance dashboard and it’s one of the first things we recommend our clients create.
It’s Monday, you walk into your office…
It’s Monday morning, you’re updating your list for the week and you stop.
There it is—that item you’ve been putting off for weeks: “update website.” Every week you’ve moved it to the next week; not sure how to start. Should you do a major overhaul (ugh!) or does your site need tweaking?
The problem isn’t your website. The problem is you don’t have the right information.
Now imagine a different scene…
It’s Monday morning, you walk into your office and there’s a single page report lying on your desk. You smile.
It’s your website performance dashboard and it quickly gives you all the numbers you need to make good decisions. Cool, right?
But, before we get into what goes into your website performance dashboard, let’s look at a common mistake.
It’s called scope creep.
Avoid scope creep
As you start to build your website performance dashboard it’s easy to go too far.
For example, you want to know about traffic going to your site in the last 30 days. Great! But do you look at unique visitors (“users”), or do you look at pageviews, bounce rate, session duration, country of origin and best time of day to publish?
There are hundreds of data points on your site and trying to track any more than the essentials will quickly turn your website performance dashboard into a failed experiment.
It’s like the dashboard in your car. There are hundreds of moving parts in your car, but to drive safely and make good driving decisions all you need are: speed, fuel level, distance (odometer), and maybe tachometer. All other indicators are hidden (like low oil warning light) until you need them.
Anything more is scope creep.
The perfect website performance dashboard needs to do 3 things:
- Give you important feedback on your online performance
- Be easy to update
- Indicate problem areas that need fixing.
The other problem with scope creep is the time it takes to update data.
The dashboard I’m recommending requires pulling data from multiple sources, so the more data points you collect, the more time this will take, and the more likely you are to stop updating it.
In the past, I have built crazy-complicated dashboards. Sure, they were full of great information, but it was a hassle to pull all the data, and inevitably they all failed.
In this article, I’ll show you how to build your website performance dashboard in just 5 minutes.
First, let’s look at where this puppy is going to live.
Where to keep your new dashboard?
There are lots of places where you could keep your new spreadsheet:
- On your computer
- Google drive
At BlogWorks we use Google Docs for all of the information we share with members of our team. It’s easy to use, you can select who gets to view, comment, or edit the document and there’s virtually no risk of losing the document or wasting time searching for the document on your hard drive.
Plus, it’s free when you are starting out and don’t have a lot of data to store.
The perfect starter kit
To get started, the perfect website performance dashboard will have only 3 categories:
- Mailing list size
- Website performance
- Social media followers
At the time of writing, I’m delivering two webinars a month, so at BlogWorks we also track webinar performance.
Here’s an example of what your first website performance dashboard can look like:
Let’s get into more detail on each category.
Mailing list size and growth.
Your mailing list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have. Unlike social media, emails from your mailing list can get directly into your prospects’ Inbox. You can deliver invitations, follow up with leads, and nurture your list with new blog posts.
Even if you only have a few hundred on your list now, growing your list should be a business goal. Here’s why…
As our world rushes to get online, most business owners are reconsidering their business model. Traditional businesses, like lawyers, physiotherapists, retail stores – even house painting – are finding ways to attract customers online. In many cases, those businesses are now delivering their service online.
Having a mailing list makes all of those changes possible.
The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business.The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business Click To Tweet
At BlogWorks, we track the total list size every week. And because we have multiple lead magnets, we track the number of people who accepted each opt-in offer.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with Google Analytics because it tracks all activity on your site. That won’t help you!
Most business owners simply need to track:
- Number of unique visitors (called “users”)
Periodically you should also be checking:
- Top blog posts
- Source of traffic
- Percent of mobile users
- Bounce rate
- Conversion on top blog posts
Here’s how to find unique visitors:
Log into Google Analytics. Click Audience > Overview
How to create goals in your website
To simplify your website performance tracking you need to create goals within Google Analytics. In WordPress, this is a one-time exercise that starts the data collection so in one click you can get all the numbers you need to add to your website performance dashboard.
Typical goals will include traffic to your:
- sales page (consulting, book, products, etc.)
- prices page
- thank you page (for an opt-in)
- special offer page
- contact page
Creating a new goal is easy:
- Click the Gear button (bottom-right corner)
- Click Goals > “+ NEW GOAL”
- Click “Custom” (the last option in the list) > CONTINUE
- Enter the name of your new goal (like “Contact page”) and for Type, click “Destination” > CONTINUE
- Under “Goal Details”, enter the last part of the URL for the page you want to track, like “/contact” > SAVE
Automatically Receive your Google Analytics Report
If you want to have a bit more detail you can easily set up Google Analytics to automatically send the standard website dashboard to you on a regular basis.
Here’s how to set that up:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Click on Audience > Overview.
- In the top-right corner, click “Share”. Fill in the form that pops up including selecting the frequency you want and you’re all set.
Social media followers
Each social channel has its own measures of “success”. On Facebook, it is followers, likes on posts, comments, and shares. LinkedIn tracks connections, followers as well as likes on posts and shares.
That’s great to know if you’re making decisions on what posts to create next, but it’s too much information for a regular dashboard update.
I recommend your dashboard only tracks your number of followers (connections in LinkedIn.)
Create a system
Now that you have your first website performance dashboard created it’s time to add a system (or SOP Standard Operating Procedure) to make updating it a no brainer.
The worst thing to do is go to all the work to build the dashboard and then stop updating it.
If you are going to update the website performance dashboard yourself, one trick is to block time to make it happen. Create a calendar appointment for 15 minutes that repeats.
You can also create a reminder that repeats.
If you have an assistant or use remote freelancers, this is a perfect task to outsource.
Your business will grow because of your hard work, but also because of good information. Just like knowing your financial information you should also be tracking your online performance.
With a little effort, you can easily create your first website performance dashboard and start using it to make better, more informed, decisions.
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