How can business success be measured in an online world?

It would be too simple to say that business success is defined by how much money you make. Whilst the annual revenue is important, it’s not the sole factor.

So here are 5 ways you can measure online business success. Spoiler alert: numbers are involved.

online business success

In 2020, Growth Intelligence reported that over 85,000 online businesses were green-lit in the UK. Statistica further shared that 30% of all businesses in the UK allow customers to order, book or pay online. This doesn’t just include retail, but also online tuition companies, freelance writers and influencers.

The online world is a mass conglomeration of e-commerce – and everyone wants a taste of the glory. So without further ado, here are 5 ways you can measure your online business success in the 21st century; regardless of whether you’re a traditional or online business.

Response rate

Response rate is how long it takes your company to respond to a request or issue. Anything over 24 hours might harm your business success.

You may have noticed that the majority of company websites have chatbots, alerting you as soon as you click on a page that they’re “ready to help”. This also includes how quickly you respond to queries on social media, like Twitter and Instagram.

We now live in a world where people expect you to respond ASAP. Mostly everyone gets an email as soon as they’ve placed an order for confirmation – or eagerly refresh their inbox to make sure the order is on the way. Impatience is a virtue. So make sure you have the staff and the time to respond quickly.

SEO check

Google tells us that 80% of people will click the first 3 options on the search results page. So if your website is sitting at rank 10, there’s little chance your business will be visible.

To get to the top of the ranks, you need to make sure everything is optimised. This is just a fancy way of saying that the website is performing effectively. For example, the images used in blogs or on landing pages should be no more than 1MB. Copywriters and content writers need to ensure they’re dedicating time to keyword research and analysis, to rank for the best search terms.

There are some things that you can’t control, but on-page factors are in your control. It’s a slow and steady approach; but just like the Tortoise and the Hare, business success is measured over time.

Customer reviews

Always encourage customers or anyone you network with to leave a review about the company. Social proof – like Trustpilot or Facebook reviews – is a huge indicator of business success.

Remember that how you engage with positive and negative reviews is also important. Studies show that consumers find businesses more trustworthy when they have a negative review and see how they’ve responded to it. Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Own it.

CTR and session duration

Arguably the most important statistics on Google Analytics. Session duration analyses how long people stay on a particular website page. Click through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks a page receives. Both are a huge measurement of business success.

Tom Baker (Head of Growth at Tutor House) suggests that the average page duration should be around 3 minutes minimum. This means that the consumer is digesting the information. Any less, and your call to action will result in inaction.

If your page duration is less than a minute, this signifies a “bounce rate”. There could be a number of reasons for this: perhaps the copy is not up to scratch or there’s a lack of product information. It’s important to use Google Analytics (or any SEO tool) to understand how potential customers are engaging with your site. Then revise as necessary!

Social media engagement

Although it’s not always essential, social media can really help your business soar. This provides an opportunity to build your business brand and voice. It allows you to connect with customers directly and boost your sales in the process.

A note of caution here: the biggest vanity metric is (drumroll please) the number of followers. Unfortunately, business success is not measured by how many followers you have. Whilst it might be good for your business’s reputation, it doesn’t necessarily mean you stand out from competitors. In fact, many businesses can succeed with a small following (yes, even those less than 10K).

What is important is your engagement metric. Social media is a huge topic to cover; but if we take the example of Instagram, the number of saves, likes and comments on a post is what affects the algorithm. So you need to be making “share-worthy” content. This is similar to blogging, but suited to the platform, of course.

What next?

Now that we’ve shared the best ways to measure online business success, it’s time to put in the work. The only way to see positive results is by making changes. Even companies that have existed for years need to keep up with the times. To be truly successful, keep in mind that there’s always room for improvement.


Naida Allen is a witty wordsmith with a love for writing and reading. She is a Content Writer and Social Media Executive at Tutor House — the top UK provider of online and in-person tuition. She specialises in topics relating to mental & physical wellbeing and career advice.