Paul Thornton - Monday 14th November 2011


Knowledge is Power – 7 essential steps to discover whether your website is working or not

Inspired by recently reading Seth Godin’s post on Six Questions for Analysing a Website, I thought we’d share something similar with our friends and clients: a list of the things small and medium businesses need to know about their websites.

So often we hear clients, friends, prospects (in fact just about anyone) say that they “think” their website “isn’t working” and I’m willing to bet you’ve probably done the same. What this normally means is that either no one is visiting the website apart from existing customers, or there simply aren’t actually any ways to measure whether it’s working or not. We prefer to know, rather than think, a website is “working” or not, and this is what you need to do in order to really understand what’s going on with your website

1. What are the key actions that you want visitors to your website to take (we call these “conversions”)? Write down a list of all of them – here are a few to get you started:
• Go to the Contact Us page
• Complete a contact form/send an email
• Download a brochure, document, catalogue, case study etc.
• Watch your video(s)
• Buy something
• Sign up for a free trial
• Join your newsletter database
• Check you out on social media
• Read testimonials

2. Once you’ve made this list, you need to be tracking all these actions through Google Analytics, not through whatever analysis your CMS gives you. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed there are 2 things you need to do urgently: Firstly, call your developers and ask them why they haven’t don’t this – it’s absolutely essential. Then, when you’ve finished doing that, drop us a line.

3. Go into Google Analytics (if you don’t have access to your own Analytics, see step 2!) and look at where your traffic is coming from. It’ll be from a combination of sources and you need to look at each of these in turn. Look at Natural search and see what phrases people are using to reach your site. Chances are, it’ll all just be your brand name or variations of it. If this is the case, you’re right, your website isn’t working: the only people finding it already know you. You need SEO urgently so that you’re capturing people who don’t know you already. Give us a call or email now and we can give you some free insights into your site.

4.If you’re doing online advertising or email marketing, look and see which ads and emails are producing the most actions

5. All of these actions need to be set up in Google Analytics as goals so that you can see specifically whether your website is “working” or not.

6. Now come the really good parts (if you’re already a Digital Hothouse client you’ll know this!):
• First we look at each conversion type by traffic source so we can see what traffic sources are more/less valuable to you.
• Then we drill down and look at what particular search phrases, ads or emails are producing the most sales/enquiries etc
• Once you know this, you know where your effort is producing the most reward!
• Take this information and do more of the things that are working and less of the things that aren’t.

7. However, you might find that people simply aren’t completing any of the actions you want. If that’s the case then you’re right, the website isn’t working. Chances are it wasn’t built to optimise the conversions, but to look pretty. Don’t worry if this is the case, we can fix it for you and get it working as you want it to. Either drop us a note, or you can read more about Conversion Optimisation here.

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