By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Your website is healthcare’s new front door, and nearly everyone has a website. Good, bad or mediocre, hospitals, health systems and doctors’ offices have some degree of Internet presence. But better than half the time, the all-important website metrics—the numbers that monitor performance—are neglected or ignored.
The plus side of an effective website is that it’s working all the time—at least it should be. It doesn’t have sick days, holiday vacation time, or dash-out on personal errands. In fact, you probably have an easy-to-read dashboard report.
The essential work elements of a healthcare website include:
- Being found online, where prospective visitors discover your site through search marketing (and search engine optimization/SEO), keywords, phrases, and online, Pay-per-Click advertising;
- Presenting a meaningful landing page or an intuitive or navigation that is rich in useful content or message(s); and
- A clear and compelling call-to-action where the visitor converts to an appointment or another action step.
Analytics are the key metrics that reveal how well your website is working or not working. These include the strengths (that you want more of) and the weaknesses (that need attention or repair). Metrics are the adjustment tools. This is where daily changes in page design, navigation or content can improve your online results.
Website metrics and your Key Performance Indicators KPI…
The first three rules for monitoring your KPI are:
- Define your website goals in specific and measurable terms
- Establish meaningful comparison periods or terms (month over month; year to date)
- Monitor performance regularly (monthly, once per week, or daily)
The fact is that computers are amazing—make that mind-boggling—in their ability to track and report performance data. And a typical dashboard, such as Google Analytics, will offer nearly too much information for most data-mortals. With the exception of some well-trained power users, an overwhelming data dump becomes a distracting waste of time.
The goals that you quantify and your key metrics need to relate to each other. Track this data regularly and without fail. The most useful metrics will vary somewhat, but they are likely to be:
AUDIENCE MEASUREMENTS: It’s important to track the number unique visitors (or users), and the number of visits (or sessions). It is also important to distinguish between the new (or first time) visitors and the returning visitors. One consideration here is that returning or repeat visitors are finding something of value. In most situations it’s desirable to have a mixture of both new and repeat visits.
SOURCES OF VISITORS: You can begin to judge the effectiveness of your online visibility by analyzing how your visitors come to the site. The sources that attract the most visitors are doing well. Others that inspire little or no visits, need your attention. Visitor sources typically include search or organic traffic, referrals by way of inbound links, email marketing, paid traffic such as PPC ads, social media and other sources.
STAYING vs. LEAVING: When visitors arrive at the website and almost immediately leave, it’s a single-page session bounce rate marker. Perhaps your website was a complete accident or mistake. But when the bounce rate is high—or the average session time is low—it indicates that the content wasn’t friendly or useful, was not what they expected or was not of sufficient interest. An average bounce rate is about 40 to 55 percent. The greater the interest and/or the higher value of the content, the longer someone will stay. And that increases the likelihood of conversion.
CONVERSIONS: The final product, and arguably the most important KPI, is the rate at which visitors become patients or buyers. It is an unproductive website that attracts visitors but does not lead them into taking action or converting to new business. The successful web cycle will attract visitors, provide interesting and/or useful content, and present a clear and compelling call-to-action.
The most elementary site reporting includes considerably greater, non-stop data. Contact us for help interpreting the page-by-page details about what’s working and what’s not working. We can help with the adjustments or fixes you need to engage visitors and take them to the next business-driven action step.