Getting Started with KPIs

Every website has a purpose. From generating leads for businesses, providing information on products, or serving as an informational tool for clients, a website is hardly created just to take up space on the internet. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a good way to measure if a website is fulfilling its purpose. With various metrics to choose from, KPIs are helpful in determining whether a website is encouraging visitors to perform key tasks.

What are KPIs?

By definition, a key performance indicator is a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc., in meeting objectives for performance. Leading businesses and organizations utilize KPIs to gauge their success at reaching their target goals. There are two types of KPIs:

  • High-level
  • Low-level

High-level KPIs are larger scale and focus on the overall performance of a business. Low-level KPIs are more detailed as they focus on the performance of individual departments in a business such as sales or advertising.

KPIs outline a set of values of which to measure. These values can be summarized and put into subcategories as possible indicators. Indicators can be categorized as follows:

  • Quantitative or Qualitative
  • Leading or Lagging
  • Input, Process, or Output
  • Practical, Directional, or Actionable
  • Financial

Quantitative indicators can be presented with a number, but qualitative cannot. Leading indicators predict the outcome of a process, while lagging indicators can predict the success of failure of a process. Input indicators measure the amount of resources consumed during a process, while output indicators reflect the outcome or focus on the results of the process. Process indicators measure the efficiency of performing a process. Practical indicators evaluate existing company processes and directional indicators determine whether the organization is getting better or worse in performance. Actionable indicators are those that the company has control to change. Lastly, financial indicators regard company spending, saving, and profits.

Why are KPI’s important?

Just like every website has a purpose, so does a business. Successful businesses are always looking to grow and increase profits, expand their reach, and ultimately be the best in their respective fields. KPIs help a business take a look at what specific actions and behaviors are effective towards meeting such goals.

It’s important to note that the KPIs tracked by one company may not be useful to another. KPIs need to be specific and measurable for actions being taken by the organization. If the goal is to increase profits, an organization needs to determine what specific steps need to be taken to achieve success. KPIs can help track what actions are successful, and which ones need to be changed.

If a company is tracking something, it means that they are keeping an eye on the goal. When a company measures a process, it’s getting managed (the Strategic CFO). KPIs let a company know which factors are most critical to improving the business or determining what is halting progress.

How to choose the right KPIs for you

Defining a KPI is not so easy. Each one should be related to a specific business outcome, further emphasizing the fact that KPIs are unique to each company. Here are some key stages to identifying KPIs:

  • Define a specific business process
  • Define the requirements for the specific business process
  • Define quantitative or qualitative measurements for the results of the process
  • Create short terms goals to evaluate the process for tweaking

KPIs should be defined in a way that is understandable, meaningful, and most importantly, measurable. The more measurable and controllable a KPI is, the better it can be tracked. Follow the SMART criteria so that the measurement has (CA Technologies):

Specific purpose for the business

Measurable to get a value of the KPI


Relevant to the success of the organization

Time phased

Examples of common KPIs

Common departmental KPIs can provide guidance for a business that is just starting out with KPIs. However, the goal is for a business to develop specific processes to get an idea of what template to start with. Here are some of the most popular KPI examples broken down by department (KPI dashboards):

Marketing and Sales

  • New customer acquisition
  • Turnover
  • Collection of bad debts
  • Profitability of customers by demographic

IT Operations

  • Availability/uptime
  • Mean time to repair
  • Unplanned unavailability
  • Average time

Human Resources Management

  • Employee turnover
  • Employee performance
  • Team functionality

Once a business has determined its goals and strategies, choosing KPIs and aligning them becomes easier. KPIs let a business know what process they should stop and what they should do more of. It’s important to keep in mind that choosing the right KPIs for a business takes time and they will need to be tested and interchanged. The goal is to find the right combination of KPIs that ensure maximum success.

If you would like some help in deciding what KPI’s make sense for your business and how to track them, please feel free to reach out to us or leave a comment below.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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