Creating a Movie Review Site — Part 6 — Analytics and Measuring Your Progress

Now that you have installed WordPress and designed an attractive site, you’re almost ready to launch. But first, you need to consider your measurements for success. How will you know if you’re hitting your goals? What are your goals? This is what you’re going to learn about in this article:

It’s important to measure your successes and failures. Both of these polar extremes give you critical insights about how to manage your site. First things first, set your key performance indicators.

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The Importance of Measuring Your Success

Key Performance Indicators (or, KPIs) give you the insights you need with regard to how your site is performing. Are you hitting your goals? Are you getting everything you’d hoped you’d get out of your site? Having KPIs—selected properly—will tell you if you’re on track and where you need to course-correct.

Stats in Jetpack Plugin

Jetpack is a plugin that connects your self-hosted WordPress site with resources. This gives you all kinds of neat features such as enhanced security, faster image service, and various analytics. Want to know how many people are visiting your site every day? Jetpack gives you that information. What can you do with that information? Find out which of your pages are most popular so you can replicate that success with new content.

  • Pay attention to models
  • What is repeatable?
  • What is measurably better?

Jetpack is the easiest tool to set up and get going, which is why it’s featured first. For many sites, this is the only tool that’s needed. But as you get more advanced in your webmaster skills, you will need more advanced tools. Read on.

Google Analytics and Search Console

These are more advanced tools, but they’re free (you only need a Google account) and give you a whole suite of data you can use to make critical decisions.

Unique page views
The number of unique page views for a page or set of pages
Average time on page
How much time people on spending on your pages (on average)
Bounce rate
How quickly did a user “bounce” or leave your site after viewing it
Click-through rate
The rate at which people “click through” a search result to land on the associated page
Conversion rate
How often a visitor takes a desired action (like sign up for your email newsletter)

By measuring and analyzing this data, you will get a clear picture of how people are using your site. This data will help you develop your site as you strive to create valuable user experiences.

All Kinds of Tools

There are all kinds of similar tools available for webmasters. Often, the incoming data will conflict. This is because different tools measure your data in different ways. You may discover that the tools described above give you enough information to make critical decisions for your site and meet your KPIs. That’s great. You should only use a minimal toolset that matches your goals. You could spend thousands of dollars on various tools and get lost in the weeds. Stick with the most important data and keep going.

In the next article, you’ll learn about creating custom post types for your site and what they can do for you.

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