Everyone seems to measure engagement metrics for their websites, but hardly anyone takes a closer look at website performance. While a couple of years ago the mantra for websites was “content is king”, there has been a paradigm shift towards “performance is king”. According to research carried out by Google, half of all website visitors immediately leave your page if loading takes more than three seconds. But not only do high performing websites bring in more visitors, they also achieve higher SEO rankings. So what are the main metrics to keep an eye on when it comes to measuring your website’s performance? Here’s our attempt at a comprehensive list.
1. Unique Visitors
Pretty straightforward, this metric tells you how many unique users come to visit your site over a given period of time. If this number is going up, it means that your ads are performing well and that you’re offering valuable content for your audience.
2. Page Speed
This is probably THE most important metric when it comes to web performance monitoring. Page speed measures the time it takes from a user to click to fully load a whole page with all its content be it text, video, pictures or literally anything else. The fastest and easiest way to measure your site’s page speed is through Google’s Page Speed Insights.
3. Time to Start Render
Basically, the time to start render is the time it takes for the first clue a user gets that something is happening on a website to appear. This could be something as simple as a background color.
4. First Contentful Paint
The first contentful paint on the other hand, is the time it takes between a user opening your page and the first content type, such as a block of text or an image, appearing in the user’s browser. It’s important to note that the more valuable parts of your website should load first and therefore fast.
5. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate describes the percentage of website visitors who navigate away from your page right after having viewed only one page of your site. A high bounce rate most likely means that you’re either targeting the wrong audience or your content needs improvement.
6. Error Rate
This rate should be closely monitored as a peak might indicate that you’re facing some major issues with your application. Errors can have all kinds of sources and there is no general rule of thumb to prevent them but checking the error rate regularly is definitely a way to start.
7. Conversion Rate
Depending on your marketing funnel, there can be all sorts of conversions you might want to measure. For example, conversions from website visitor to lead, from lead to customer or even from a simple visitor directly to a customer. This metric tells you how effective your landing pages are when it comes to getting users to perform a certain action.
8. Requests per Second
This performance metric measures how many actions are being performed on your website per second. Every form of interaction with your page is in this case referred to as a request.
9. Peak Response Time
The Peak Response Time, as the name already suggests, measures the longest loading time; thereby offering you an insight into the elements of your web application that are underperforming.