I don’t need to tell you that a good website is a central part of any business’ marketing strategy. Creating a website that is user friendly, easy to navigate and most importantly, generates sales, is the best way to maximise profits. Everybody knows that. Where a lot of businesses fall down though, is knowing whether what they’re doing is actually working. If you’re seeing a slight increase in sales then you know that you must be getting something right, but that’s not enough. You need to know exactly what you’re getting right and what you’re getting wrong. That way, you can refocus your efforts and stop wasting resources on things that aren’t doing you any favors. There’s always the chance that the increased sales you’re seeing are just a coincidence and it has nothing to do with your website at all.
In worse cases, you might not be seeing an increase at all, or maybe sales have even dropped. If that’s the case then you’re doing something seriously wrong. Identifying your mistakes and rectifying them as quickly as possible is the key to making sure your website is actually working. There are quite a few different methods for analysing the effectiveness of your website, a combination of all of this data should shed some light on where you’re going wrong.
Number Of Visitors
This is the first thing to check and it’s probably the one thing that you’re already doing. It goes without saying that having more visitors to your site is a good thing, but having a high hit rate doesn’t necessarily mean your site is successful. Any big spikes in traffic are one thing to watch out for, whether they’re positive or negative. If you suddenly see a huge drop off in visitors, look at what you’ve changed recently and you should be able to work out what’s causing it.
Another thing to consider is where these visitors are coming from. When you see a sudden increase, you need to work out where those hits are coming from so you can capitalize on it and do more of the same. You should be able to find out whether they are getting to your site through Google searches or links from other sites. Knowing where most people are finding your site, you should be able to take steps to drive even more traffic to your site.
Using the services of a digital agency to help you improve your search engine optimization will push more people towards your site. They can also offer you better analytics on your site than you can find on your own.
It’s all good and well having a load of people coming to your site but if they look at the homepage, decide it’s rubbish, and then go elsewhere, you obviously aren’t getting any meaningful returns on those visits. That’s why the number of visitors alone can’t be used as a reliable indicator of the success of your website. Looking at the bounce rate is the way to find out whether people are actually using the site or not. Bounce rate is the number of people that leave after only visiting one page on the site. They could press the back button on the browser, click a link to another site or type another url in. However they do it, if they’ve left the site without exploring, they’re added to your bounce rate. A high bounce rate indicates that you’ve got some serious problems on your front page. There’s obviously nothing on there that makes them want to stick around so it’s probably worth completely revamping it. A lot of the time it means that people can’t immediately see what they’re looking for so they go elsewhere. Perhaps you need to make your categories clearer.
Average Time On Page
The average amount of time that somebody spends on a page is another way to see if people can find what they’re looking for. If they’re visiting a lot of pages but only spending a few moments on each one, they obviously aren’t reading the whole page or browsing for products. They must be clicking around trying to find something in particular. If you notice that this is happening a lot, you probably need a more visible search bar so people can jump straight to the relevant area.
The amount of time spent on a page can also give an indication to whether visitors are using the information on the site. For example, if you’ve got a video on there, and people are staying less time than the length of the video, they can’t be watching it all. Perhaps it needs changing because it isn’t holding people’s attention. You can also work out the average time it would take somebody to read all of the main text on a page and compare this with your results to get an idea of how many people actually read it.
This another common one that you might be using already, but probably not in the right way. Conversion rate is particularly important for ecommerce companies because they can get a direct measure of how many people visiting the site are buying products on that visit. That’s good information to have but you shouldn’t stop there. Some people might visit your site, then buy something in your store later on. That’s still a good conversion, but it won’t show up as a direct sale from the website visit.
Emails are another thing to consider; while somebody might go onto your site and not buy anything, they might still give you their email address so you can send them marketing materials. That means they’re interested in your products and they’re considering buying them in future. Again, that’s a meaningful conversion that could easily be missed. If you find that you’re getting loads of email addresses but hardly any sales, you need to ask yourself what is stopping people from buying their products there and then? Do you need to do something more to really grab them?
If you get to know your website inside out, you can really make it work for you.