What are website metrics?

You may have heard of the term website metrics or analytics, but still have some questions such as :

  • What are they?
  • Why are they important
  • How do you get this information?
  • What do you do with this information?

This blog will help you answer those questions so you can continue to improve your website.


What are website metrics?

It makes sense to start by defining what we are talking about, as this will give context to the whole conversation. Website Metrics is simply data that is collected about how your website is being used, because if you understand how visitors are using your site, you can make changes to improve it.


Why is it important?

All websites have a purpose, a stated aim or an objective that promoted the building of the website in the first place. This could be anything from persuading someone to buy your products to informing the public how money donated to a charity is spent.  To achieve these aims you need users to visit certain pages on your websites and sometimes even perform certain actions.  So how can you tell if this has happened? This is what website metrics tell you.  If you do not have metrics, then you have no way of knowing how well your website is doing in achieving those objectives.

If page X is the most important page, but everyone visits page Y and not page X, then you know you need to make changes to drive more people to page X.

Website metrics can therefore also show if a change you have made to the site has actually worked or not.


How do you get this information?

There are a number of different ways to obtain website metrics, and they do not necessarily have to cost you anything.  Here are some free ones you should start with


Google Analytics

Probably the most well-known is Google Analytics and its free. You will need a Google account for this, but once it is set up you can get some really useful information about how people visit your website. However there is a lot of information, and trying to work out what is useful can seem a little daunting. Thankfully Google have free courses and videos to help you.   However if you don’t have the time or inclination to do this there are plenty of companies that can give you a report which also interprets the data.


HotJar is fundamentally different to Google Analytics as it creates a ‘heatmap’ showing you where users click on your page. Used in conjunction with Google Analytics, this can give you good insight into how users interact with your site. They have a basic free level (which they say is ‘free forever’) also offer some free training and guides.

Both of these require you to have some knowledge about how they work, as well as some technical skills, as you will need to add some code to your site to allow them to collect data. If you use WordPress then you can do this via a plugin. Your developer or Website manager should be able to help you with this.  Again if this is not something you are comfortable with, there are companies that can provide this for you.


What do you do with this information?

Our recommendation is that you start collecting data as soon as possible, even if you are not sure what to do with it yet. This will give you a baseline so as soon as you want to start using the data you have something to compare it against.  The more data you have the better the quality any analysis you do will be, as it will allow you to see trends. We would recommend generating a report on a monthly basis.


You can use the analysis to see;

  • How many people clicked on a page after you did marketing activity such as emails or social media
  • Users preferred route to accessing information (this is useful if you have multiple routes to the information)
  • Give you a control or baseline before you make changes so you can see how any amendments you make affect user activity
  • The most popular page, what content people are engaging with most, and how users finding you
  • The least popular page, and how quickly people are leaving your pages (the bounce rate)


Many small business still like to rely on ‘gut instinct’ or anecdotal evidence when making decisions about their website.  But these are not evidence-based decisions.  Website metrics provide this evidence to allow you to make informed decisions based on what actual users are doing on your site.

The evolution of websites and digital marketing is moving so fast you need to regularly review how your site is performing.  If you would like us to help with any of this get in contact.