Optimize a content website

1. Consider additional revenue streams and think about the cost:efficiency trade-offs they offer.

As a publisher, content doesn’t make you very much money (with ads at least), so consider any additional revenue streams you can implement.

2. Define your key metrics and KPIs for success based on the type of content you produce and your revenue streams.

What do you want to optimize for? For example, key metrics for a content site could include unique users, user engagement, newsletter signups, user retention, or social shares.

3. Create a tracking plan for your key success metrics and KPIs.

Having a defined tracking plan helps you better measure and track micro conversions and gives you the information you need to create better test hypotheses and optimize your site.

4. Create custom dimensions in Google Tag Manager to pass on to Google Analytics.

For example, words, comments, author, and Ad Blocked. The more relevant data you collect, the more informed your future tests and optimization efforts will be.

5. Create calculated metrics in Google Analytics.

For example, customer lifetime value, average cost per session, non bounces, cost of acquisition.

6. Use Google Analytics to track important events on your website.

Event tracking creates more insightful data in terms of what’s going on when users visit your site and why it happens. For example, you could track JavaScript errors, ads loaded or not loaded, user scrolling depth, and time on page.

7. Implement enhanced ecommerce using Google Tag Manager.

Enhanced ecommerce gives you insights you can use to track any kind of user interaction, as well as measure the value of each reader. This data can then be used to benchmark against future content.

8. A/B test ideas like changing the order of share buttons, number of related stories, and removing sidebars to find out what works best for your site.

9. Follow the 5 principles for A/B testing when testing new hypotheses.

Know what you’re testing. Focus on your user segments. Iterate on what you are already testing. Focus on high significance. Test big, bigger, biggest.