Companies are embracing the digital transformation and looking for marketing initiatives that drive customers to their online channels. Website optimization, including site redesigns are topping the list of must dos for many marketers this year. And they’re looking to be guided by analytics that are aimed at improving the customer experience.

Using real-time customer data and analytics allows for decisions to be made based on customer needs and provides a foundation for continuous optimization. With tools like Google Analytics, heat maps, and feedback surveys, design and digital strategies can truly be made based on real data.

Taking this approach means moving away from redesigning based only on intuition or company leadership input. For many organizations this requires a cultural shift to be committed to analytics to drive the process. To go down this route, you really have to gather and understand the data to back up your decisions.

The data can help you identify current actions and goal completions. Basically you need to answer – What are visitors doing on your website? These findings may show that customers are looking at information, but never completing a lead generation form. The data can also show what parts of a page are most used and what is not generating any interest. Side note: If you need to get management buy-in, this is where tools like heat maps that highlight frequently looked at information and behaviorally triggered digital surveys that ask for feedback about visitors’ experiences can come in handy.

This information can help you tweak or change how current action paths work or provide different elements during the customer journey to improve goal completions. Now you’re getting at the – What do you want visitors to do when they are on your website? This means identifying which acquisition paths, content consumption patterns, and goal completions are most meaningful and will define the success of your website.

High-level traffic data like number of visits, unique visitors, page views, etc. give you a general sense of your website’s performance. The next step requires defining metrics based on targets that address your new goals instead of raw numbers or trends. Digital analysts believe these are the results that need to be tracked and communicated throughout an organization.

Customer/Visitor Engagement – The goal here is to develop a metric that measures more than just how many visitors come to the site. Create a session that looks at a collection of behavioral activity that shows a high level of interest. For example, a visit that includes viewing at least three content pages or a visit where viewing and sharing content is completed.

Lead Generation – Generate metrics that explain how visitors are navigating through the site. Experts suggest taking the total number of lead generation task completions, such as filling out a form or requesting a quote and divide that by the total visitors sessions to get the resulting percentage that can be used as a benchmark score for site lead generation effectiveness.

Shopping Cart Value – For ecommerce sites, it’s time to move beyond just shopping cart completion rates. Try measuring value per customer order or repeat order value.

The emphasis on analytics establishes website customer interaction and task completion goals. It can also be used to establish the most important and least important content on any page. Then the designing part of the redesign must use this information to ensure the success of the metrics. This means streamlining the site to guide customers to the desired actions.

Ready to gauge how your website stacks up against the competition? Try Hubspot’s free tool Marketing Grader. If it’s time to consider some professional help to get you on track, we have a deep expertise about all aspects of website design. We’re here to help.