Measuring website content performance for success


What is the ‘best’ performing blog? Which piece of content performs the best on my website? What should we make more of? These are all questions I am used to hearing from clients. There are a number of ways to measure ‘success’ and ‘performance’ but before doing so you need to ask yourself, “What do I actually want to know?” It is all too easy to open Google Analytics, native social reporting, or any other third party tool that claims to have all the answers and take the data that it presents as a ‘given’.

Now, if you haven’t guessed by the tremendous overuse of inverted commas in the last paragraph, I am a little sceptical (to say the least!) that measurement and success are thought of correctly by the majority. More often than not, acquisition metrics such as clicks and views are used to determine ‘success’ of a webpage and the content within, but what if the time on page in 10 seconds and the bounce rate is 99% – this would suggest that the webpage is not valued by the user at all, and, in fact, you just had a great acquisition mechanic (i.e. you wrote a really captivating tweet, more colleagues had time to share the content etc.).

When you think like this, what is to stop me writing a tweet that says ‘Totally amazing sexy naked women click here!!’ and linking to the latest B2B whitepaper of one of my clients and see the page views go through the roof. Well, apart from getting sued and losing the client, it wouldn’t actually prove that the content on that page was any good, but, instead, that there are a whole bunch of people with their mind in the gutter!

So, how do we measure ‘value’? 

If you want to know whether people like the content on a given page you need to look at more metrics. There are metrics that claim to go some way to answering this such as Time on Page. However, these metrics are no good unless they are contextualised – i.e. if one article is only 100 words long then the time on page will be significantly less than the time it takes to read an article that is 900 words long – it doesn’t necessarily suggest less engagement – not without context anyway.

Therefore, I would suggest that you start to review and combine a number of metrics in order to understand whether anyone thinks your web content is any good – here are some to get you started:

  • Social shares from within the page – i.e. “I value this enough that I think my network will benefit from it”
  • Time on page (combined with length of content) – i.e. “I am engaged in this page”
  • Clicks within page – i.e. “I am engaged with other things you mention within this article or peripheral content displayed”
  • Customer Journey (where they go from that page) – e. “I like this, what else have you got?”
  • Leads/customer acquisition/signup – e. “I want something from you”

There are a number of other metrics you could assess – it all goes back to my first point, you need to understand what you are trying to answer. However, start with the above and I promise you will start building a much clearer, richer picture of how your web content is performing. This will help you optimise, inform future content making decisions and strive for excellence.

Good luck.

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