How Do You Measure The Success of Your Website?

When talking with prospective clients, one of the questions we ask is how will you measure the success of your website? There is an old marketing adage, “If you are not measuring, you are not marketing.

One of the most effective ways of measuring the success of your website is by using website analytics. One of the questions we are frequently asked is “will I be able to tell how many ‘hits’ my website gets?” “Hits” have never been a good measurement. Each file (including individual images on the page and the page itself) sent to a website visitor’s browser from the web server is a “Hit.” Accordingly, each page viewed will generate anywhere from a few “hits” to dozens of “hits.” What most website owners are interested in is the number of “Page Views” and the number of visitors to their website. While these statistics are helpful, there is much more information available that will help website owners or managers measure the success of their website.

On every website we create, we install Google Analytics for our clients and provide them access to view their statistics. With over 100 standard reports along with countless custom reports that can be generated, Google Analytics provides more than ample data to help verify traffic in a multitude of perspectives.

Real-Time — six reports
Audience — thirty-one reports
Acquisition — five reports
AdWords (If a Google AdWords Campaign is linked to Google Analytics) — ten reports
Behavior — eighteen reports
Conversion — eighteen reports

What and how you measure depends on your purpose for having a website and what you are expecting to achieve. That said, there are some standard Google Analytics reports that are useful no matter what type of website you have. Those include the number of Users, number of Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate.

Here is an example of the Audience Overview report that contains the basic statistics related to the website’s audience. Becoming familiar with Sessions, Users, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate is helpful to anyone wanting to know what is happening on their website. You will see those metrics in many reports. Viewing those metrics from different perspectives can be very enlightening.

GA Audience Overview Report

Acquisition — Knowing how Visitors (Users) get to your website is important. That is especially true if you are paying for advertising.

In Google Analytics, under Acquisition > Overview > All Traffic > Channels, you will find the following Channel Groupings.
1. Organic Search
2. Direct
3. Paid Search
4. Referrals
5. Social

Listed for each of those types of acquisition, you will see all of the data for the audience Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and more. You will also be able to drill down in each of the acquisition types, to see more detailed statistics.

Behavior — You need to understand which pages Users visit, the number of Pageviews for a given page (and how many of the Pageviews were Unique), how long users stayed on the page, the Bounce Rate, and completion of Goals (if they have been created). The important reports in Behavior, are All Pages, Landing Pages, and of course, Goal Conversions.

Conversions — While the reports in this area are arguably some of the most important reports, they all require configuration, and most require editing the tracking code that goes on the pages. For that reason, we will not discuss them here. Of course, we at WebWise Design & Marketing are always happy to discuss how we can help you measure and increase your website traffic.

Now that you know you have all of this data available, how will you measure the success of your website?

Will it be a specific number of Users (visitors) per month, or number of Pageviews, or Pageviews per Session, Goals completed, contact forms completed (you will see the “thank you” page listed under “All Pages”), sales from products you offer online, or one of many more metrics?

Please remember, if you do not measure the results of your marketing, you are not actually marketing. You are simply spending money hoping for a return.

Do you measure the success of your website? If not, we will help.

Call Us Today!
1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750

It Is Not Enough To Know Who Your Audience Is

So, you truly believe you know who your website audience is. Hopefully, you don’t believe that is enough. You still have to make and maintain a favorable connection with your prospective and current customers.

How do you do that? The answer is by using the other 4 Ws as they relate to online marketing.

Five WsWhat — Refine what you want to say. Well-written, relevant, and grammatically correct copy is imperative. It doesn’t matter if it is a 1,200-word blog post, a 140-character Tweet, a product description, or a Google AdWords text ad with a 25-character headline and two 35-character description lines. Provide relevance and value.

When — The adage, “Timing is everything,” is true.  Know when to send your message to your audience.

  • Look at your website and or Facebook analytics to see when most of your visitors are online.
  • If you have a newsletter, check to see when your subscribers are opening your email.

Where — You said you know your audience. Go where they are. If the majority of your website visitors get there by searching Google, you may want to consider Google AdWords (the type of campaign may depend on the devices your visitors use). If your audience is on Facebook or Pinterest you should be too, and consider advertising there. The same is true of other Social Media. If they listen to the radio, a short commercial always closing with your URL can be effective. Similarly, classified and other newspaper ads can be effective as well. Remember your “Who” drives your “Where.”

Why — Are you trying to . . .

  • create brand awareness?
  • drive traffic to your website?
  • reduce inventory of a particular product?
  • announce a new product or service?
  • build your newsletter subscriber list?
  • thank a returning customer?

The reasons why you are trying to reach your audience affects what you say, when you say it and where it is told.

Applying the 5 Ws as they relate to your marketing plan (You do have a marketing plan, do you not?) will reward you for your time spent. After all, simply identifying your audience is not enough.

Your Audience and Your Website Visitors – Are They the Same?

Who is your audience? That is one of the very first questions we ask our new clients. The answer to that question is something that should be at the forefront of every business plan and marketing decision made for any business. Of course, identifying your audience is not enough. You need to know if your story is reaching them.

Many of you are going to say, “Of course, we know our audience” and I will grant it is likely that you do.

Assuming you do know your audience, are those in your target audience among your website visitors? Have you checked lately? You do review your website analytics regularly, do you not?

Google Analytics Demographics

Here is a little checklist for you.

  • Are you reviewing the demographics reports?
  • Are your visitors in your target age group?
  • If your target audience is a particular gender, are the majority of visitors that gender?
  • What is the ratio of “new” users and “returning” users?
  • Does that ratio coincide with your marketing plan?
  • Are the visitors to your website spending time on the pages you want them viewing?
  • Where do they go when they leave those pages?
  • Do they leave your website or do they look at more pages?
  • Is your conversion rate what you would like it to be?
  • Are visitors filling out a form or making an order?

If you are not measuring, you are not marketing, and if you are attracting the wrong audience, you are not marketing at all!

Are those in your target audience among your website visitors?

Google Changes The Rules – Mobile-Friendly or Not

If Google does as stated, today is the day many small business websites disappear from Google Mobile Search Results. Of course, not only SMBs will suffer, but so will churches, associations, and other non-profits. A few major corporations will be surprised as well.

mobile-friendly-webwisteWe understand the importance of mobile in today’s world. Nearly all the new websites we create are device-responsive, and have a mobile-friendly version, as defined by Google, as well as a desktop version.

The vast majority of the websites we have created in the last few years look great and work well on desktops and tablets, as well as phones with “full-browser” capabilities. With smaller devices, the user will have to pinch and stretch some, but they will function. We did create fully mobile-friendly versions for some of our clients websites who chose to be out front in the mobile revolution. Even a year ago a mobile-friendly of a website was a hard sell for us and most other developers, especially those of us who have small businesses and non-profits among our clients.

Google seems to think everyone has deep pockets and/or a development team to create exactly the type of website they deem appropriate. They constantly tweak Google Analytics and Google AdWords. Sometimes the tweaks are amazing and time saving. Sometimes they are amazing and very time consuming.

Google wrote this Finding more mobile-friendly search results post on February 26, 2015, and followed with this announcement Rolling out the mobile-friendly update today.

Here is an excerpt from that post.

“April 21 st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

You may check using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if Google classifies your website as mobile-friendly.

It is too soon to know the impact of Google’s latest forced mandate. Every website owner should review their analytics program to see what percentage of traffic is mobile. Remember Google separates tablets traffic from mobile, as most tablets display the desktop version of a website. Once you determine the percentage and number of mobile visitors (and what they do while on your site), you will have to decide if having fully mobile-friendly (as defined by Google) is right for your customers and prospects. Only you know what percentage of mobile traffic meets your pain threshold. Please remember that for this purpose, the mobile statistics, are only valid going backwards in time. Mobile search results change dramatically as of today!

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Increase Conversions – Improve Your Most Popular Pages

Improving the most popular pages on your website can increase conversions.  Take a look at the pageview data in Google Analytics (or other analytics provider) and make note of the top three pages (other than your home page) visited.

Improving ConversionsYou may not have intentionally created the most popular page on your website with the thought of it being specifically a landing page. More likely, it is a page you created some time ago that highlights services or products you offer. It may even be a nearly random blog post you wrote because you hadn’t published one lately.

Take a good look at your most visited web page, the time your visitors spend on the page, and where they go after viewing it.  Are they filling out your form, subscribing to your newsletter, or calling you?

  • Proof your page again. You may be surprised to find a typo or two. Fix them.
  • Update any outdated information.
  • If you don’t have a photo or visual, add one.
  • If you are talking about more than one topic, use sub-headers.
  • If you have other pages on your website related to the page topic, link to them.
  • List additional resources at the bottom of the page.
  • If you do not have a “Call to Action” on your page, add one.

Improving your most visited pages gives you more chances of increasing conversion rates.

Learn more about increasing conversions by calling us today!

1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750

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