Set up a small business website

Measure and benchmark your website performance


It is important to monitor how your website performs and the way visitors use it.

Performance monitoring tools

Many websites experience slow performance, outages, content errors, transaction failures, etc. To address these problems, consider using website performance monitoring tools.

These tools can:

  • measure the response times of specific transactions
  • pinpoint the location of bottlenecks that slow down the website (eg an application server or a network router)
  • identify the causes for slow page loading speeds (eg loading too many banners, too many high-resolution graphics files, or disk space problems)

Many of the main search engines - such as Google, Bing and Yahoo - provide tips, advice and tools to help you improve the performance of your website.

Monitoring website traffic

As part of website maintenance, you should track how users find your website and what they do once they get there. Web analytics tools can help you determine:

  • how many visitors click on your pages
  • the dates and times each visitor accessed your site
  • the individual IP (internet protocol) address of each visitor's computer
  • where (what online source) did your visitor come from - eg from search, another website or social media platform
  • how many pages do they visit
  • which pages they spend the most time on
  • the type of browser, operating system or mobile device used by each visitor

This information can help shape your content strategy, offer valuable feedback on your marketing activities, or customise features to help address visitor needs.

You can use free services - such as Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster tools to help you monitor your website traffic, or use paid-for tools offered by your web host or specialist analytics companies. These types of tools work by adding tracking codes to your website pages that collect different types of user data, including personal data such as IP addresses.

Website tracking and data protection

Data protection laws affect how you as a website owner may use tracking software to monitor your website visitors. They also affect your privacy policy and the manner in which you can obtain consent from your users for setting the cookies.

To ensure that you comply with the data protection laws, you should:

  • control how you're transmitting personal data to third parties (eg from your page URLs to Google Analytics)
  • use your analytics tool features to anonymise any IP data you collect
  • use pseudonymous identifiers, such as User ID, hashed or encrypted data or transaction IDs
  • provide transparency about the data processing on your site in your privacy information
  • follow the rules on obtaining and managing consent

Find out more about the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What is website benchmarking?

Website benchmarking helps you to see what other businesses are doing online and where your website stands in relation to others. This knowledge can help you better understand your position in the market and boost your competitive advantage.

You can benchmark, for example, your:

  • website performance
  • search performance
  • usability performance
  • marketing performance

Learn more about benchmarking and see how to benchmark your business performance.