So you have a website that you’re proud of, it looks the part, it tells your visitors what you do succinctly, it reinforces the quality of your products or services, and you have committed to adding posts to your blog regularly. You’ve even got a steady stream of visitors. Great. But is your website working for your business?
The first step is to figure out what ‘working’ actually means, then measure that, test alternatives, then use the best performing alternatives to enhance the performance of your website. When these steps have been taken revisit the first question and re-cycle the process.
What does ‘a working website’ actually mean?
Is your website purely informative – somewhere to point potential clients to where they can view your services, portfolio, contact information? Perhaps your website exists to simply reinforce your brand, so that when your business card or Facebook advert is clicked there is continuity. Does your website perform a particular function, such as converting visitors to prospective clients via a marketing funnel? Perhaps it is purely and simply about generating revenue through inline sales, advertising or affiliate links.
Once you have defined what ‘working’ is for your website the next step is to define actual goals that support this. It is important not just to vaguely define them like “I want to get more visitors”, but to create goals that have meaning. SMART goals (that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound – like “I want to increase new visitors to the services page of my website by 15% over the next 6 months”) have so much more potential to actually be realised, and particularly with your business ethos at the forefront of your thought process, can pinpoint what ‘working’ really means.
Measuring the success of your website.
After you have defined your SMART goals you need to put in place measurement so you know if you are on the right track to achieve them. In order to know if you are achieving your goals you also need a baseline from which to measure. Most websites, if they are put together properly, include some sort of statistical analytics that can tell you a great deal about your website, so if you have had this in place for a while, then your baseline is there.
From that you will be able to tell after a month if your services page is receiving more new visitors, and what percentage increase this is, for example. If you have other goals related to enquiries, sales, customer feedback forms, newsletter signups and so forth then data analysis can tell you how the website is doing – and importantly what needs tweaking to get you on the right track towards achieving your goals, or exceeding them.
(Split) Testing, 1-2-3.
It isn’t enough just using data to measure the success of your website – to really see results you need to test alternatives. Anyone involved in marketing will tell you that results come from ‘split’ testing different marketing methods. Split – or A/B testing is when you provide two options of the same item and run them against each other to find out which works the best.
For example, you are directing users to your services page via a clear and obvious call to action button that has particular wording. You want to show half your visitors that button and the other half a button with an alternative call to action. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that after a certain number of visitors have been to your website you will have enough data to work out which works, and which doesn’t.
Then, of course, you take the button that works, create a new alternative based on that, and keep split testing.
Ask yourself again… ‘is your website working for your business’?
After you have run the course of the process, you will want to go back to the start and recycle it. All businesses go through changes – be they changes to services, a different target audience, a different measure of success. It is important to regularly revisit the basic question of what working means in regards to your website, and from that set up your SMART goals, then work out how to measure them… and so on… and so forth!
I’d love to find out if your website works for your business. I’d love to find out what your goals are for your website. I’d also love to know if you have another way to measure how successful your website is… I’d like to split test my process with yours!