Archive for January, 2016

Is it time to fix my website?

January 24th, 2016 by Heather Maloney

Is it time to fix your websiteThe start of the year affords most business owners a little more space to consider our organisations from a more macro perspective. For many businesses, their “shopfront” is their website. Making sure that your shopfront is presenting your organisation appropriately, and delivering the best results, are macro questions businesses owners should ask on a regular basis.

A key objective for many websites is lead generation, and therefore another important question is “Am I receiving enough inbound leads, of the right type of people, through my website?”

The right type of person is important. If the leads arising from your website are predominantly from people who need a different product or service, or are looking for a cheaper alternative, or who are too large or small for your organisation to effectively support, then there’s a problem.

The enough will depend on the size and resources within your organisation. Most organisations have a limit to the number of inbound enquiries they can handle well at any point in time.

If the answer is “no”, you aren’t receiving enough qualified enquiry (or sales) from your website, then you will have one of the following problems:

  1. Not easily found. Your website isn’t being found in the search engines, on the right search terms. Or looking at this another way, the right people aren’t searching using the terms for which your site is optimised.
  2. Stopping at the door. When people find your website, its appearance or the user experience is turning people away. For example, they can’t quickly find what they are looking for, or trying to view your website on a phone is difficult.
  3. Failure to engage. When the visitor reads through your content or uses the functionality you provide, they aren’t engaged, their curiosity isn’t aroused sufficiently or their questions aren’t answered, so they move on rather than submitting an enquiry.

If you have invested heavily in your website (e.g. financially, including your own time, or emotionally), it can be painful to admit that it has any of the above problems, or know which one/s. Looking at the data about your website performance will help you hypothesize what may be wrong.

Bounce Rate
Your website bounce rate is a measure provided through Google Analytics which shows the percentage of people who look at one page of your site, and leave your website without clicking anywhere else. This measure can be an indicator of the engagement problem, a user experience problem, or that the visitors who are arriving are the wrong type of people.

Pathways & Exit Pages
Google Analytics will also show you the most common pathways through your website. When a person arrives on page x they then usually go to page y, and page z and then leave. This may help you to identify the pages that need to be re-written so that you aren’t losing visitors because of poor content, or because you aren’t making it easy for them to take the next step at the right point in their likely pathway.
Alternatively, you may find that visitors are mostly going down a path in your content that isn’t the optimal path for the information they require, and therefore the information architecture or calls to action need adjusting.

Device Usage
Google Analytics data will show you the percentage of your website visitors who are using a mobile device. This will help you determine whether it is time to invest in a mobile responsive website. Having a mobile responsive website will also help with your search engine ranking. As of the 21st April last year, Google made it clear that for people searching while using a mobile device, that it would give preference in the search results to websites that are responsive.

Search Terms and Search Engine Ranks
Your Google Analytics data will also give you a guide to what search terms are delivering visitors to your website.
A check on where you are ranking for search terms you are targeting will help you know whether you are likely to be found. You should be aiming for as close to the top of the first page of results as possible, but definitely in the first 3 pages.

Google Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword Tool will help you determine what search terms are most being used to search for your type of product or service, and how competitive those search terms are – useful if you are considering using Pay Per Click advertising to bring visitors immediately to your website when your organic ranks aren’t good enough.

Competitor Research
Assessing the websites of your competitors against a set of pre-determined criteria can help you to identify where your website might be less engaging.

As long as you have Google Analytics setup against your website, easily available data can be a great source of information about what may be causing a lack of inbound enquiry from your website. The following techniques will help you go deeper into the analysis of the problem.

Market Research
Asking a statistically significant number of people in your target market a set of well-crafted questions can help you to identify how your target market are perceiving your website, and what might turn them away.

You need to be able to answer the question: “Will my target audience find the answers to the questions they are likely to ask?” and “Will my target audience find solutions to their common problems?”

Conversion Rate Optimisation
If you have setup conversion tracking on obvious places within your website such as hyperlinks and form submission buttons, you will be able to calculate the conversion rate for visitors being presented with that content. Conversion tracking can be achieved using various tools – Google Tag Manager being one of them.

If you are advertising your website through Google Adwords, click through rate is an important indicator of engagement with your ads.

If the traffic to your website is sufficient, programmatically delivering alternative content to a page, and testing the conversion rate of the alternative text, will provide you with sound data on which alternative is the more optimal for producing engagement. For example, if your analysis suggests that the content is an issue because the text isn’t speaking directly to the target audience you may decide to craft 2 or more alternative headlines, introductory paragraphs and calls to action, and then test these against one another for the most beneficial version.

There’s lots involved in making a website great. “Fixing it” may require a full design refresh and re-build into a mobile responsive website with richer functionality, or it may be as simple as re-writing the content to be more concise, helpful and engaging and/or adding more obvious calls to action.

If you would like to discuss the performance of your website, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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