You probably already know that your website is an important tool for helping prospective customers find and learn about your business. But unlike traditional advertising, the interactions that occur between potential and existing customers and your website allow you to measure and improve your marketing efforts. With a little know-how, you can peek under the hood of your website to find out how it’s performing, and where there’s room to make adjustments that can result in the growth of valuable leads on your site, while also improving sales and customer experiences.
Before you start, what do you want your website to accomplish?
Performance can mean different things to different businesses, which is why it’s worth thinking about what a successful website means to your business. For example, if your goal is to accumulate customer email addresses so that you can regularly communicate new information or offers, a key metric would be online signups for your mailing list. If growing through word of mouth is important, you would want to keep an eye on the number of social shares of your website by customers to social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
So how can you determine what performance factors to measure? Here are a few things you might want to look at.
How are people finding you?
In order for leads to become customers, they have to find out about you – and that means discovering your website. Referral data in analytical reports will reveal whether your website traffic is coming from search engines, advertising, e-newsletters, social networks or other sources. If, for example, you’re trying different keyword strategies to reach customers in different parts of the city, you’ll be able to tell which keyword is the most pertinent and where it was most effective. Armed with this data, you’ll be able to focus on your strengths, while optimize your weaker channels.
What are they doing on your site?
Analytics reports make it easy to find out what happens when people visit your website. You’ll be able to get data about how visitors come to your website, how much time they spend on it, how frequently they return, which specific pages – such as contact forms or lists of services – they are looking at, whether they are on mobile or desktop devices, and so much more. For local businesses, you can even configure your reports to only show how you’re performing in the regions you serve.
How easy are you making it for customers to get what they need?
Bounce rates show the percentage of website visitors who leave your site before they interact with your content. A higher bounce rate suggests that while people are clicking onto your website, they either aren’t finding the information they need fast enough or aren’t interested in the content they see. Looking at your exit pages can also determine exactly where people are leaving to go elsewhere, revealing opportunities for stronger calls to action. Conversely, strong click through rates (CTRs) on forms, buttons and other calls to action mean customers are completing the actions you want them to take.
Two ways to measure
- Get answers from analytics
The information you need is at your fingertips with tools such as Google Analytics, which tracks the number of users on your site and how they interact with your content. From the number of new vs. returning visitors to how long people spend on your site, it’s all captured in a Google Analytics report. Yellow Pages also offers a free analytics report with all their digital solutions, giving you information about views on your website, profile and/or partner sites, contact rates, revenue calculators, and more. While data from any individual period of time provides a snapshot of your performance, you can also look at your metrics week over week, month over month, or year over year to see how you’re performing over time.
- Ask your customers:
While analytics tell an important story about what’s happening on your website, your customers are also a valuable source of direct information. Consider adding a field to contact forms asking customers how they found out about you, or rewarding customers with a coupon or other offer for providing feedback about what they like or what features or content they’d like to see. As an added bonus, research has found that merely asking customers for feedback can improve satisfaction and loyalty. Yellow Pages websites include forms, which make it easy to get customer feedback.
Start getting more out of your digital presence
While simply building a website is a great first step toward generating new business and deepening existing customer relations, taking the time to analyze your site’s performance offers a powerful opportunity to maximize the returns on your digital investment.