Guest Post by Dan Norris
I spend a lot of time online, and I like to know whether my efforts are being rewarded.
In this article we'll look at 8 metrics I follow across my businesses to get an understanding of how well things are going.
Revenue / Profit is always number one because of how important cash-flow is.
However it's sometimes not the best predictor of future success so I like to look at this month's invoicing vs last month's as well as long term trends.
But it's not the only thing I look at...
I use Xero for overall profit calculations but also look at individual sources like PayPal and Google Adsense to look at the revenue from different parts of my business.
2. Campaigns in Analytics
Campaigns in analytics are super powerful. If you are organized enough to use a tracking URL in your marketing efforts online it's a great way to measure specifically which campaigns are giving you the best conversions and return on your time or money investment. Some online services also automatically create campaigns for you, i.e. Feedburner, MailChimp etc.
3. Conversion Rates
For anything that isn't specifically tracked as a campaign you can still look at your conversion rates from different sources. If you have a goal set up (i.e. opt-ins, or sales etc) you can look at your conversions and then look at the sources to work out which referring sources are converting better than others.
This is better than just looking at the amount of traffic a source is providing because that doesn't provide necessarily information about how targeted the traffic is and how likely they are to become a customer.
4. Google Rank for Keywords
If you are like me you'll rely a little bit too heavily on Google's natural search traffic. I use rank tracking tools to see where I am ranking for various keywords and sometimes just use a new incognito window in Chrome for a quick check. Keeping an eye on this will notify you of issues well before they are noticed in your traffic.
No internet marketer can get by without traffic so I'm constantly looking at my traffic, mainly total visits this month vs last month, number of visits to specific blog posts, who are my top referring sites etc.
If you run an affiliate program this can provide great info on who your top affiliates are. You may also use an external service for managing the performance of affiliates.
6. Newsletter List Size and Engagement
Newsletter opt-ins are an important part of my funnel in all of my online activities. I use MailChimp which provides some great info on monthly opt-ins, overall list size, number of unsubscribes (none hopefully) and opens and click throughs. Opt ins are useful to work out whether your site or other sources are being effective in encouraging people to opt in. The remaining stats are what I use to work out which email topics are working well and working out the frequency of my emails etc.
7. Server Uptime
Unfortunately I've found most hosts don't give you reliable information on when your server goes down or ongoing uptime percentage reports. But not much could be more important for the internet marketer. Servers going down is going to reduce opt-ins, reduce your amount of customers and your income so it goes without saying that you need to stay in top of this. Pingdom.com's free service is great for this which provides notifications and also reporting on an ongoing basis.
8. Social Media Metrics
I am pretty active in social media and use it to drive traffic and potential customers to my sites. I like to know how influential I am in my given markets and what kind of reach my posts are getting and what people think of them.
There are a few things I use for this including Klout (overall influence) Facebook insights, just checking out the interactions on Twitter and I also like to keep an eye on the comments and trackbacks on my blog.
What did I miss?
I know there are more things to look at and there are a few that I use that didn't make my top eight list here. What are yours? Did I miss any?
About the Author:
Dan Norris is the founder of Web Control Room a free tool that enables internet marketers to understand their data and make better decisions. By talking to the sources you love (MailChimp, Xero, Analytics, PayPal etc) it provides a scannable one page chart showing what is going well and what isn't.