Websites. Every business has one (we hope), yet too many organisations see the humble website as a set-and-forget type business tool; one which merely functions to have an online presence, when in fact, a website has the power to drive traffic, boost sales and build relationships, if leveraged and managed correctly.
When was the last time you evaluated the performance of your website? Could you say with certainty how it is performing at this very moment? If your answers are anything close to "never" and "I don't know", then it is well worth your time to read on and learn why a regular website evaluation is so important, and how you can conduct one.
Why it's important and what happens if you don't do it
Today with the wealth of digital tools at our disposal, the website has become a super engine for businesses which can be optimised and enhanced to meet the specific goals of your organisation, whatever they may be.
If you need to inform, you can design and measure your websites ability to do this. If you need to convert, this too can be programmed into the function of your site, with metrics and measurements in place so that you have continual visibility to check how you measure against these goals. Measuring what works and what does not, helps to create insights. This insight can then help you to make decisions on how to alter and optimise, to ensure you get the best results possible online.
The cost to a business failing to conduct evaluations is hard to quantify. How do you know what you've lost if you never had measurements or goals in place to determine how much you expected to gain? This is precisely the point.
Failing to evaluate the performance of your website means that your website is likely not working for you. It is critical that businesses look at their site as a tool that can be deployed to help reach targets, rather than a product that was bought some years ago to look nice.
Determining what to evaluate
Every business is different, so it figures that every website is different and the goal of these sites will vary widely depending on the offer and function they hope to, and are able to gain from the site.
To determine what needs to be evaluated, it must first be determined what you hope to get from your site. You can't measure what you don't know. So think about this. What does your business do? Who are your customers? What experience do you want your customers to have on your website? Do you sell products or services? Are you using your website to drive people to purchase?
Of course, only you can answer these questions, and the answers will determine a more detailed view of what you then need to evaluate and potentially put in place to get your website working as a real business booster.
Without knowing anything about your particular business or website, we can tell you that there are three key areas you need to look at when conducting an evaluation. They are:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The user experience is the experience a visitor has on your site. This experience must be a pleasant one, or you will lose visitors and potential customers. User experience considers everything from the page load speed to the ease of navigation. If your website is slow to load and difficult to digest and move through, you are losing visitors.
Content is what helps to educate visitors to your site, as well as keeping them browsing through. Websites that regularly update and upload content rank better in search engines so they are found more often from searches on platforms like Google, Bing etc. Not only good for SEO, having a website rich with content gives the visitors a lot to browse, which keeps them on the site longer, and every minute helps to win their business.
As above, search optimisation is essential to help you get found organically online. Not just about putting up content, search optimisation goes deeper to make sure that each page on your site and every bit of content, new or old, is optimised to get you the traffic you deserve.
Selecting your tools
With the above in mind, every business, no matter your goals, needs to implement and regularly review tools that check the user experience - are people bouncing off the site? If so, why? As well as where your traffic is coming from and what can be done to boost this.
There are many tools available, but you can't go wrong with Google Analytics. Google practically owns the internet, so it's safe to say their services are one of the most comprehensive.
Google Analytics can identify poorly performing pages, where visitors come from, how long they stayed on the website and where they are in the world. There are also advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation, sales activity and performance tracking.
The four metrics that matter are:
Consumption metrics - Page views, video views, document views and downloads.
Sharing metrics - Social sharing, backlinks from others using links to information on your website, and email open rates and forwards (if you use email campaigns).
Lead generation metrics - Conversion rates, form completions, call to action activities (newsletter subscribers, etc), and blog subscribers.
Sales metrics - When a purchased is made, if a purchase is abandoned, and if they click on up-sales or call to actions.
To leverage these metrics to get the most out of your site, they should be measured regularly, and different strategies should be tested to see if you can improve the results - continual optimisation and iteration (think agile).
If you can't recall the last time you conducted a website evaluation, you're too embarrassed to admit when it was, or you want to do your due diligence to make sure the website metrics you have are the best they can be, get in touch with the team at Blue Beetle for a free website audit to show you how to supercharge your businesses best asset.