PaulBarrs.com | How Effective is Your Website?
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How Effective is Your Website?

21 Jun How Effective is Your Website?

In all things, there must be some measure of success, a pre-determined outcome to quantify if ‘whatever’ has been successful or not. Even if it’s just a relaxing day at the beach… were you relaxed? Did you achieve your goal? Everything has it’s intended outcome.

An athlete could measure their success in different ways; a personal best time, a better time than another, a higher placing… a first place.

Car manufacturers’ measure success by a vehicles performance, its speed, or perhaps its economy – depending on the desired outcome, the measure of success can vary. These goals are clearly visible and easy to test.

At all times the desired outcome determines the actions taken

When it comes to web business, the same principles apply. It’s vital that we have clearly marked ‘measurements’ from which to reconcile our results with. Then it is easy to make adjustment in one direction or another as we seek improvement.

The problem facing many website owners however is not that it’s difficult to measure the success of a website – it isn’t; it’s that many website owners are focused on the wrong measurements and target the wrong outcomes.

The question that needs to be asked is, “What is my number one goal for my website?”

For some the answer will come quickly – “online sales” (an easy measurement). Others will say, “Leads generated” (again, easy to measure). Another frequent measurement is “income earned”, and this is where the waters get murky. So whatever *your* goals for your website are, it’s also important that you understand what it TAKES to achieve those goals.

Here’s my 4-step guide for creating a Successful Website Strategy.

(1) The first point of call is to determine the ultimate outcome. Is your website a ‘sales lead generator’ (is its goal to get people to subscribe to your list or to contact you for further information?). If it is, then you need to make sure that it’s the most effective ‘sales lead generator’ it possibly can be.

If your goal is to convert visitors to online buyers, then your shopping cart should not only appear attractive, but also offer special deals that will appeal to your marketplace.

Or maybe your goal is simply to have people reach your site, clink on an ad link and leave again. Whatever it is, you must be 100% clear on your goal. Then you should break it down and heave clearly marked annual, monthly and weekly goals – targets which you can ‘measure’ your success against.

(2) Once you’ve decided on your ultimate outcome you then need to look at the steps involved to achieve that outcome. Here is where we begin to look at the conversions of visitors vs goals. If you need to sell $7,800 a week to achieve your annual goal and your website is receiving on average 500 visitors a week, of which 32 (on average) are buying product with an average buy of $200 ($6,400) then you are falling short of your weekly goal by an average $1,400 a week. Your conversion ratio is 6.4% with an average visitor value of $12.80 ($6,400 sales / 500 customers).

Knowing this you can then take appropriate steps to improve on it. And this is where most people get it wrong.

Most people think to themselves (and this makes perfect sense), “If I can just get another 100 people a week to my website then I’ll make enough sales each week to achieve my goal.” Now while that may be true (and with an average visitor value of $12.80 you’d need another 110 people per week to balance it out), it’s not the BEST way to go about making up the difference.

Because no matter how much traffic you’re getting, if you’re only averaging a $12.80 visitor value to your site, then you’re only getting an average $12.80 visitor value! What you should REALLY focus on is not traffic but conversions, or how you can increase your visitor value!

This leads us to point number (3), engagement. How well does your website ‘engage’ with its visitors? Do you just offer an online brochure? Do you also offer a blog? Do you provide an opportunity for your visitors to engage YOU, and do you respond? What about social media engagement? Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn etc. each of these represent an opportunity for you to stop your customer in their tracks and pause a moment… to think about your business.

This is the KEY to increasing conversion!

I’m assuming that you have all the other things in place; you have good sales copy on your pages, you offer enough information on your products, you ASK them the question –

* Subscribe Now
* Order Now
* Contact us Now

These are basics. But outside the basics you need to engage with your customers so that they do the one most important thing that will make the biggest positive impact on your conversion ratios – spend more time on your website.

Bang!! That’s it. The NUMBER ONE THING that most website owners don’t realise they need to know. The longer you can get your website visitors to spend on your website the more likely they are to do business with you.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to generate sales, subscriptions of clicks to a CPA link, whatever, the more time they spend with *you*, the more likely they are to ‘buy’ from you.

Not convinced? Let me share this very simple worldwide example that has been in place for over 50 years…. When was the last time you bought milk?

Now ask yourself, “Where was that milk in the store?” Was it up the front or was it down the back? What about the bread? In a big store they’ll have you walking from one end to the other just to get your milk and bread, don’t they?

Why? Because they know that the longer you spend *in store* the more likely you are to buy something else from them. And today I want you to have that ‘ah-ha’ moment too… the longer you can get people to spend on your website, the greater the chance they will ‘buy more from you’. Simple.

And the easiest way to do that is to improve your ‘bounce rate’ and to have your visitors view more than just one page.

Sidebar: If you’re not sure what your bounce rate is, just check your website statistics or ask your webmaster. This is the number given (percentage) which shows how many people visit your website and leave again without looking at more than one page.

Improve upon this and then everything will begin to improve.

(4) Once you get things working on your website and your conversions up and running, then (and ONLY then) is it time to look at your Traffic Attraction ability.

While there are many ways to generate traffic to a website (my new video coaching program covers at least 30 strategies); the two most common are PPC and SEO.

PPC is where you (the website owner) would pay an advertisement company (such as Google Adwords) to run targeted ads at a cost where you pay each time someone “clicks” on one of your ads.

Doing the math, we can see that if (in the previous example) you had an earning per visitor of $12.80 and you were paying for click ads up to $9 Per Click, you would be in profit. If your ad costs ran up to $15 per click or higher, you would be running at a loss.

PPC is the easiest advertising media to measure against your desired outcomes.

On the other hand, SEO is the art of Search Engine Optimisation, or more accurately On-Page SEO where it’s what you do ON your web pages that attract high rankings from the search engines, therefore bringing your traffic (Traffic Attraction).

SEO is the LAST of my Successful Website Strategies covered here. The problem for most is they make it their first.

However, the SERPs change all the time (search engine ranking positions), and especially if you have a new website and your webmaster engages in ‘grey-hat’ SEO strategies (low quality back-linking for example), you run the very REAL RISK of having your website disappear for ever from the SERPs; if not now, then surely in some future search engine update.

However, if you invest the time to increase your conversions and earnings per visitor and THEN set yourself on target for solid search engine rankings with solid marketing strategies – you annual goals will become much more real without the risk of failure.

If you rely on ‘search engine rankings’ as the measure of success then you’re building your foundations on sand, letting *your success* be measured and determined by outside 3rd party factors.

If you measure your success according to factors that YOU are 100% in control of, then you’re sure to set yourself a more solid foundation that cannot be shaken, even when the economic climate takes a turn for the worst.

So, in closing, here’s my NUMBER ONE TIP for better search engine rankings AND increasing visitor value…

* Guest Blogging! Invest the time each week to send out 2 or 3 high quality targeted articles to other website owners in your marketplace. Rather than seek a competitive relationship with your peers, seek a cooperative one. Ideally you should seek to have your article published on websites that have either (i) higher traffic than yours, or (ii) greater page rank, or (iii) a greater visitor value. The best of course is all three.

Guest blogging has multiple benefits. The most obvious of these is the transfer of quality customers as they click through to your website (the easiest way to increase your visitor value). Possible transfer of SEO “juice” from a higher ranking website can also be a major benefit.

The most important thing is that you get YOUR WEBSITE about in front of more potential customer and attract that traffic.

The question now is what are you going to do about it… and when?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.