An online presence is the backbone of nonprofit operations. Most nonprofits already have a dedicated website with donation pages, blog content, contact forms, testimonials, and other information about their cause. A well-designed website helps raise brand awareness, drive donations, and make connections with your supporters.
Luckily, you don’t have to guess about how to improve your site design. Today’s websites can automatically collect user data which can then be interpreted and leveraged to increase traffic to your site and encourage users to take action.
Data analytics should be an essential addition to your online marketing strategy. It provides valuable insights into the overall health of your website and pushes your team to make data-driven decisions that support your organization’s long-term success.
If you’re unsure about which data metrics to keep an eye on, then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about website data metrics, including:
Why Are Website Data Metrics Important?
According to research from NonprofitHub, 90% of nonprofits collect data. Most nonprofits gather information about their donors, campaigns, and marketing efforts. However, only 29% track data that can aid in website optimization.
In an increasingly data-driven world, it’s important to evaluate your nonprofit’s website and collect data that you can transform into actionable knowledge.
Effective information gathering can help your nonprofit:
- Make informed decisions
- Stay relevant with trends
- Convert viewers into donors
- Maintain credibility
- Determine content strategies
- Create a better user experience
- Reach the top of the search engine results page (SERP)
Not only is a website the face of your organization, but it’s also the source of your online donations and engagement. If you want to increase traffic and conversions, it’s important to track key metrics and optimize your site accordingly.
Top Website Data Metrics to Track
1. Page Views
Page views are the number of times a user accesses a page on your site. Every time a page is loaded in someone’s browser, your total page view metric will increase. Even if a user continually reloads a page, it will count towards this final page view number.
High page views generally mean that your marketing and SEO efforts have been successful in bringing people to your site. This metric can tell you how popular your pages are and how much traffic your site is receiving.
However, higher page views can also indicate an underlying issue.
For example, poor site structure and performance issues can lead to a misleading page view metric. If a user has trouble loading your pages and constantly presses the refresh button, it will make your page views increase. Thus, it’s important to measure page views against other data so that you can account for any errors that may have arisen along the way.Is it high because your brand awareness is gaining traction? Is it low because you only send a niche group of supporters to certain pages?
Page views, however, are only a stepping stone in understanding your site’s overall performance.
2. Average Session Duration
A session measures user interactions with your website recorded in a set time period. Google Analytics, a free service that provides insight into who visits your site and what they do when they get there, begins recording the duration of a session at the moment a user lands on your site, then stops when the user exits the site or becomes inactive. All user sessions are compiled into a final average duration metric that reveals how invested supporters are in your site.
A higher session duration typically means that your content is relevant and targeted at the right audience. However, just like page views, website session duration is most valuable when interpreted in context. Consider the following factors that contribute to how long a user is on your site:
- Traffic Source: Where are users with the longest session duration coming from? Are supporters from your email newsletter spending more time on your website than those who found it through Google Ads? Divert your attention to targeting supporters on high-value channels to give your session duration a much-needed boost.
- Time on Page: While session duration helps you understand how long users stay on your website, time on page reveals a user’s journey throughout your site by tracking how long they spend on each page. Let’s say a user lands on your nonprofit’s homepage and takes 20 minutes to get to your blog page. This is an indicator of poor site navigation. Improve both metrics by placing clear links to your blog in the sidebar.
- Search Intent: Each landing page on your site should target a specific keyword and fulfill a user’s search intent. If your average session duration is low, look at the pages with the highest bounce rate. For instance, if a user lands on your nonprofit’s homepage and immediately leaves, you’re probably not answering a user’s search query.
Average session duration goes hand-in-hand with other important insights like bounce rate, which brings us to our next metric!
3. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who load a page on your website, but leave without taking any action, such as navigating to your blog page or clicking on a call to action (CTA).
Keep in mind that a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. For instance, users who land on a page that’s performing well, receive their information quickly, and leave satisfied will contribute to the bounce rate, even though their experience was positive.
However, a high metric can also mean that there are underlying factors causing poor site performance, including:
- Bad Design: Imagine you land on a site filled with irrelevant images and content elements that clutter the page. Rather than sticking around to sift through the mess, you’re more likely to bounce and find a better designed page. Visuals matter! When designing a website, remember to maintain visual hierarchy that is pleasing to the eye.
- Lack of Content: Single-page websites have notoriously high bounce rates. If your site lacks content, users won’t have the need to click around to different pages and spend more time on your site. The solution: Add varying content, such as blogs, volunteer forms, upcoming event information, and donation pages.
- Misleading Descriptions: Meta descriptions and title tags can help draw users into your website’s content. These tags should accurately summarize what people will see when they land on a page. If not, you’ll likely see a higher bounce rate when users realize that the site did not satisfy their search query.
Determining what causes visitors to bounce in the first place will help guide improvements and support your larger online strategies.
4. Traffic Sources
Now that visitors are staying on your page longer, it’s time to figure out where they’re coming from. Traffic sources reveal how supporters are getting to your website. This information can be used to target prospective donors and build real relationships with them.
The following acquisition categories on Google Analytics can help you determine your main sources of traffic:
- Organic Traffic: Organic traffic refers to visitors that land on your site after performing a search on a website like Google. Ranking highly in organic search results is the primary goal of most website owners. If organic traffic is low, your pages probably aren’t ranking for the keywords used in search queries. Focus on search intent and on-page SEO to stand out in the search results.
- Paid Search Traffic: These visitors arrive at your site by clicking ads in the SERP. If you’re not reaching your target goals for paid search traffic, consider investing in a Google Ad Grant service like Getting Attention. Eligible nonprofits receive up to $10,000 of free advertising every month to drive traffic.
- Referral Traffic: Referral traffic describes users who land on your site via a link on another site, without having to search on Google. For nonprofits, this represents an opportunity to connect with other thought leaders in the industry and improve your SEO strategy. If you aren’t getting enough referral traffic, leverage social media and send relevant content to other nonprofit professionals so that they can link to it on their own blogs.
Chances are your nonprofit already understands that social media, blogs, and newsletters drive people to your site. But knowing exactly how your audience is getting there is the key to success. With this information at your disposal, you can consolidate your efforts on one source of traffic or make adjustments to your site to boost all sources of traffic.
5. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate represents the number of visitors that turn into actual supporters while on your website. To be counted as a supporter, a desired action must take place.
This action could be making a donation, filling out a form, downloading a resource, signing a petition, or registering for an event. The higher the conversion rate, the more engaged your supporters are in your mission.
Oftentimes, an unclear or non-existent call to action (CTA) is the culprit of low conversion rates.
Your CTA should be a catchy phrase or slogan that encourages visitors to take the next step, such as “Donate Today” or “Learn More.” This generally takes the form of a button or panel that is affixed to the page and stands out from the rest of the content.
A clear CTA will be instrumental in boosting your conversion rate and enhancing your nonprofit’s overall data.
Quick Tips for Website Analytics
With millions of metrics on the web, choosing the right ones to track and analyze is essential. Effective data management relies on analyzing the data points that will support your organization’s larger goals.
Once you have begin collecting data according to these key metrics, your nonprofit should implement a process for cleaning and enhancing this data. According to AccuData’s guide to data appends, most nonprofits underestimate the need for data hygiene and enhancement. With these processes, you can remove duplicate entries, update missing information, and ensure your metrics are correct and organized. This will save your organization time and money down the road, so you can focus on what you do best: powering social good.
Knowledge is power in the world of website data metrics. Tracking the right metrics will help extend your nonprofit’s reach and deepen your relationships with supporters. Watch the magic happen as you put the lessons learned from analytics into action!
About the Author
Author: Gabrielle Perham, MBA, Director of Marketing
Gabrielle is the Director of Marketing for AccuData Integrated Marketing. She joined the organization in 2017 and possesses more than 15 years of experience in strategic marketing, branding, communications, and digital marketing. She earned a B.S. in Marketing and an M.B.A in Marketing Management from the University of Tampa.