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Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2009 at 10:49 am

Have You Given Your Website a Mid-Year Check-up?

By Jeff Sexton
June 2nd, 2009

We’re now 6 months into 2009, and if you’ve embarked on a program of Website/ Marketing optimization, you’re probably looking for some clear, common-sense benchmarks to measure your progress.  Here’s what you should be looking at:

Cost Per Visitor (CPV) – How many advertising, marketing, SEO, etc. dollars do you need to spend to bring in each Website visitor you’re getting.   Don’t look at conversion just yet – it’s your website’s job to convert the visitors; marketing’s job is to get them there in the first place.  So Cost Per Visitor is the best starting point for measuring your return on marketing spend.

Also, feel free to break this down by channel: SEO, e-mail marketing, PPC, conventional media, etc.  Some channels are easier to track than others, but give all of them your best shot.  Now plot your CPV performance from the beginning of the year till now and see how you’re doing.

Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) – Top line revenue is usually easier to calculate and track, so we go with RPV, but if you’ve got the metrics to figure out bottom line Profit Per Visitor, all the better.  So basically you’re looking for how much money you are bringing in per Website visitor, and you’re looking to see how this metric is changing from the beginning of the year until now.

CPV should be decreasing and RPV should be increasing

What to do if these metrics aren’t moving in the right direction:

  1. Take a look at your marketing spend. What’s working?  What’s not working?  Look at differing channels, keywords, time of day, etc.  Get accountability from the tactics you are using to drive traffic.
  2. Focus on improving your conversion rate.  Your Website’s conversion rate can act as a lever to both CPV and RPV.  By examine keywords and marketing campaigns in terms of scent and scent trails, you can improve the performance of your campaigns and drive down CPV.  By improving micro-conversions throughout the buying process, you can increase macro-conversions, average order value, repeat customers, etc – thereby improving RPV.  For tools on how to do this, take a look through our archives, read Always Be Testing (or any of our other books), or give us a call.

Feel free to let us know how you’re doing, or to post any questions you have on these metrics and improvement tactics.  We’d love to hear from you.

[Editor's note: the author of this post is now blogging at]

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Comments (43)

  1. Hmm, I don’t seem to have either of these metrics on my reports. Makes sense though, the reasoning is sound. I can’t believe we’re almost at mid-year already.

  2. It’s definitely a good idea to utilize data and metrics. It helps one gauge where they are and where they may be headed by at least getting the general pattern. Good article.

  3. Yes, this parameters are much important. Many small businesses don’t think about ROI and CPV. They spent their many at any cost, because they want to be firs in search engines and after some times find, that are in financial loss. It is very important to carefully consider both side – costs and profits and balance them to be in profit no in loss.

  4. [...] Our Blog BLOG HOME AROUND THE NET ARCHIVES RSS FEEDS EVENTS « Previous Entry Home FutureNow Post Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2009 at 9:27 [...]

  5. [...] Jeff Sexton blogged about the importance of watching your cost per visitor (CPV) and revenue per visitor (RPV) trends. One of the best ways to get a handle on optimizing these key performance indicators is to get a [...]

  6. You will need to checkout every month if possible. If Google is updating/changing their keyword tools monthly, then you need to change/implement the keywords monthly or even weekly if you check your analytics

  7. [...] En période de crise, pensez usabilité ! Capitaine Commerce Ergonomie 2009-06-04 L’amélioration de l’ergonomie de votre site web – qu’on mesure par ce que les américains nomment l’usabilité – n’est pas une lubie de nerd, mais trouve toute sa justification dans le contexte économique actuel et dans une optimisation de la rentabilisation du trafic d’un site ecommerce (comme vient fort bien nous le rapeller Mr Jeff Sexton dans Have You Given Your Website a Mid-Year Check-up?). [...]

  8. [...] Have You Given Your Website a Mid-Year Check-up? (via – Can’t believe we are 6 months into the year already. Definitely time to do a checkup on your website and get ready for the holidays again. [...]

  9. You should consider costs on both sides… You do need to check Google every month, but I would advise heavily against changing your Keywords too often.

  10. [...] Jeff Sexton affronta l’argomento in questo articolo. [...]

  11. Have started to use Google Analytics and this is really helping. This combined with Web Master Tools is a minumum people should be doing.

  12. Just started using analytics and wished I installed it long time ago :( Now I have to wait until I have the stats…

  13. A good way to increase convertion rates is also improving the usability of the site. Adding good calls to action buttons is a nice way to make your visitors do what you want they do!

    Great post.

  14. I think that the natural traffic is the best deal (CPV-RPV). Targeting ads also help but sometimes you don’t get the results expected. I always prefer to invest in SEO or talented article writers then to spend a lot of money on CPC or CPM ads.

    Great post!

  15. After you look at CPV and RPV and you are looking to increase conversion rates, I would say the best way to measure THIS when starting out is to use goals and paths in Google Analytics. It is surprisingly easy to set up.

  16. I have use this system Jeff. And it is very important for website Succesfull. Good article

  17. I use google split test tool to increase RPV and it give very good results. Testing is a need for a website.

  18. thx.

  19. awesome.

  20. Focus on improving your conversion rate. I like this words. thanks

  21. great post Jeff, i ‘ve ever do check-up my web about RPV and CPV.I’m new on e-commerce….I think i should check it every 3-6 months…

  22. I always use graphs to see how my website goes on . Also analytics is the best , I use it on all my websites.

  23. Conversion rates can depend on your website’s simplity too. If you have one website in flash with many images , high loading,you have low chances to have any sales ..

  24. If you can work out ‘Cost Per Visitor’ and ‘Revenue Per Visitor’ then the ‘Profit Per Visitor’ should be easy!

  25. Good article
    a Mid-Year Check-up is important.
    in my opinion,a good way to increase convertion rates is also improving the usability of the site

  26. Hi,
    Good work, I have learned more


  27. Thanks for this information, it was very helpful. Keep up the good work.

  28. I can tell you are very knowledgable in the business Jeff.

  29. Just checked mine up, thanks!

  30. My website passed the check up with flying colors.

  31. Analytics is the best , I use it on all my websites. Best Regards MJ

  32. My website passed the check up with flying colors to.

  33. It is very important to perform check ups on a website often. You never know what you will find in your stats. New keywords new ideas and so on.

  34. Just checked mine up, thanks. Now i have much thinks to do.

  35. Good toll – mine got passed! TY for sharing…

  36. Very interesting, I have to check my site. thanks

  37. Great post, I’m assuming these ideas are still valid a year later.

  38. You should consider costs on both sides… You do need to check Google every month, but I would advise heavily against changing your Keywords too often.

  39. Looking at Cost Per Visitor without looking at conversion rates is a good starting point. I think that sometimes I fail to break down and separate all the details of the data.

  40. I use google split test tool to increase RPV and it give very good results. Testing is a need for a website.

  41. @ SEO UK
    You are right.
    IMHO Google Analytics is the easiest way to check-up. It works great and easy it handle.

  42. well, i didn’t check the statistics since last new year’s eve, but i’ll check them these days. I like to check the statistics on 31st december and make plans for the next year

  43. With having so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagiarism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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