Transactional sites make their money from outcomes. These might be subscriptions, purchases, or enrollments—whatever the case, the company’s revenues are directly driven by the percentage of visitors who complete a particular process.
Primary metric: conversion and abandonment
Secondary metric: offline activity
If you’re running a transactional site, you need to constantly compare different site designs, offers, and pricing strategies to find the ones that have the highest conversion rates. Page views mean nothing unless you can turn visitors into buyers.
If the end of your transaction happens offline—talking to a sales rep, getting contact information from a site, or starting an online chat—treat this as your goal and try to tie the online portion of the transaction to its offline outcome. At a minimum, provide a unique phone number on the website and track call volumes to that number.
Primary metrics: referring URLs; visitor motivation; traffic volume by segment
Secondary metric: inbound links from social tools
The second big question for transactional sites is how many visitors come from where. You get and pay for your business by understanding which search terms, campaigns, social networks, and referring sites have the highest conversion rates. You should also understand why visitors come to your site so you can be sure you’re satisfying their needs ...