Digital Strategy

Website Performance Metrics: 7 factors your nonprofit needs to track

April 22, 2021 Nonprofits Decoded Team
website analytics via google analytics dashboard

Tracking key parameters and metrics for your nonprofit website is crucial for any business, blog, or organization. However, the same index or metric doesn’t mean the same thing for every website. A nonprofit website, in particular, has unique requirements and metrics to check which are different from an ordinary business.

So, what are these website analytics that matter?

Today, we’ll break down each of the core nonprofit metrics in this post. This compilation is a brief yet comprehensive rundown of all you need to know about which metrics and data to focus on. 

Key metrics and analytics for nonprofit websites and why they matter

These are the vital nonprofit analytics and metrics you should consider as your operations move along. Remember that no single metric can give you full and accurate information about your site’s overall performance. It’s through a combination of all these parameters that you can make conclusions.

Beyond a website, what KPIs are important for a nonprofit? Here’s the top ten to track plus some tools that can help you review the data.

Pageviews

Pageviews (sometimes called ‘views’) are a basic but important index to track constantly. These views essentially mean the number of times a specific page was loaded. So, if someone reloaded a page or clicked on a different page and returned, you’d have multiple views. 

As you can imagine, looking only at this number won’t give you the big picture. However, taken with the other metrics, you can tell if a page is doing well or if bad navigation is causing people to reload often. While it doesn’t consider the whole site, pageviews are a great way to work on individual pages and, in extension, your overall nonprofit web design. 

Example metrics in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is how most nonprofits track basic website sites. Other options exist for more advanced monitoring, such as HubSpot, Salesforce and Hotjar.

Sessions

A session is a specified time frame within which page views and clicks take place. Basically, it’s a set of interactions that happened during a period of browsing. The duration of the session may vary based on which nonprofit analytics you use. But the idea behind the metric is the same. 

Sessions are a good way of studying your marketing and SEO strategies. If your ideal client/patron clocks in a few sessions every day, it means your strategies are working well. However, if you only record a session once in several weeks, you may have to revisit your marketing and engagement strategies. 

Visitors

Keeping track of the number and frequency of your visitors will also allow you to evaluate your nonprofit’s outreach. 

Here, you can distinguish between generic visitors and unique visitors. A unique visitor is distinct because it means you have a visit from a new user or device. Your nonprofit analytics tool can use cookies to tag new visitors/devices. This way, you can study whether your traffic is from a few visitors making many visits or many new visitors dropping in. 

Some analytics may also notify you about returning visitors. Thanks to cookies, you can separate the nature of your traffic. Use this metric to see how well you’re retaining old visitors and how successfully you’re attracting new ones. Coupled with page views and sessions, you can tell which sections of your website are bringing in new traffic. You can also use the info to decide if you need a new nonprofit web design for better engagement. 

Source of your traffic

Another key factor in evaluating your nonprofit website is where your traffic comes from. You can use tracking codes to determine your traffic sources. 

Example graphic of website sources of traffic
Example of sources shown in website analytics.

Remember that not all nonprofit analytics offer the same variety of source-tracking. Common sources include referrals (external links), organic sources (web search), email (newsletters/mailing lists), paid sources (ads) and direct traffic (people who type in your domain name).

The trick here is to improve traffic from all these sources. But the main focus should be on organic traffic. This can be through search engines or social media strategies. Either way, organic traffic has the most potential to increase exponentially and improve the other sources too. 

Time on Site

Time on site is a crucial metric to consider when you’re a nonprofit website looking to grow further. It’s also a parameter that you have to evaluate along with other indices like traffic-source, page views, visitors, etc. 

Donors, well-wishers, advocates, or simply curious browsers all come looking for something. The longer they stay on your site, the better your chances of getting them to register or clicking that CTA. 

Essentially, what you want here is to increase the time that visitors spend on your website. Among other factors, it implies that your creating better engagement with your users. You can find out whether to increase blog articles or change your nonprofit web design based on this information. Bland content or poor site structure can decrease the time spent on site even if you’re drawing in high traffic. 

Revenue generated online

Fundraising is not the same today as it was a decade ago. Utilizing your nonprofit website to draw in donations and commitments is a central part of your nonprofit website design strategy. So, tracking the earned revenue through this medium is a vital part of your finances. 

Also, if you consider the frequency of gifts along with the number of donors, you’ll have a good idea of online donation trends for your website. Combine this data with the average donation, and you can even make estimations of online revenue for the coming year. Of course, this involves calculated assumptions. So, don’t rely only on this metric for estimating your finances. 

Curious what a donor is worth to your nonprofit organization? Calculate your lifetime donor value and donor retention rate to see how you stack up.

Often, this information is reviewed and collected inside of a donor database or CRM.

Bounce Rate

One of the few metrics that reveal insights for your overall site and individual pages is the bounce rate. The bounce rate is, essentially, the percentage of visitors who exit your nonprofit website after browsing one page. 

Identifying pages that exhibit higher average bounce rates can reveal which page to work on. Also, bounce rates can increase if your nonprofit web design is not impressive during arrival. So, you’ll realize what changes to make when you have reliable data on this metric. 

Conclusion

Your nonprofit website will reveal a lot of data and information with the right tool and program. However, not knowing which nonprofit analytics and metrics to track can leave you tracking everything. This is not only counter-productive but needlessly wasteful. 

So, use these parameters to check and evaluate your site’s performance throughout. You’ll have better engagement, appealing nonprofit web design, effective CTAs, and marketing strategies that bring more donors your way.