Is Your Website a Good Investment?
So, you have a business website, and you’re happy with that. Finally, you have a “web presence”. The next question is whether it is worth the investment. I speak to many SME’s who simply don’t know the answer.
Our Site’s On The Web – Job Done, Move On!
Many businesses understand that they need to be on the Web if they’re to compete effectively in the modern market-place. That’s a good first step. However, there’s more to it than just “being there”. The website must add value to the business, and there must be a way to measure this to ensure that the investment is paying its way. You want to know “Is Your Website a Good Investment?”
A New Type of Employee!
Employees are expensive, critical to the success of many businesses, but a good investment if they deliver for the business. Managing employees is (in theory) pretty simple really – regularly measure their performance. An employee who doesn’t contribute sufficiently to the business is not returning a cost benefit. That employee must improve, or be replaced with someone that can (and does) deliver the required results. Harsh, but true!
Your website is essentially an different kind of employee. It has been put in place to do a particular job that’s essential in order for the business to survive, compete and grow. If it’s not doing this, then corrective action is required. An under-performing employee may need to be “re-focused” on their role within the business. This might be achieved through measures like :
- incentive bonuses for achieving defined outcomes
- a mentoring arrangement, or
- undertaking a performance improvement program.
Your website is no different. If it’s not performing, action is required. The corrective measures will obviously be different, but the outcome should be the same – improved performance feeding into the sustainability and growth of the business.
A Measure of Performance
A website’s success depends on :
- the number of visitors that find it,
- the value of the information the site provides
- the action visitors take in response to the information, and
- the effect of this action to the business bottom-line
These KPIs (key performance indicators) can be measured for you by Google through their free service at Google Analytics. If you have a business website, you should be using Google analytics, and reviewing these KPIs at least once a month. If you’re not using this service, you need to ask your web designer why they haven’t set the service up for you. If they can’t or won’t enable this service and arrange for you to receive regular reports on your website’s performance, find a new web designer! There may be a small fee to set this up for you, but no on-going costs after that.
Another website KPI is the Google Ranking of your website. This KPI indicates the popularity of your website. It’s based on a number of factors applied by Google to determine how your website ranks against all other websites. The ranking scale of 0 – 10 is used. A ranking of zero is the lowest ranking, and it generally means no-one is coming to your website. Most websites begin with this ranking. Over time, if your website is attracting traffic and holding visitors there, and as other popular websites link to yours, your page rank will improve. While it is possible to rank at 10, this is almost unachievable – here is a list of some websites ranked at 10.
The following is an extract from Wikipedia that may be help in understanding how your website is assessed against Google Page Rank :
“PageRank measures the number of sites that link to a particular page. The PageRank of a particular page is roughly based upon the quantity of inbound links as well as the PageRank of the pages providing the links. The algorithm also includes other factors, such as the size of a page, the number of changes, the time since the page was updated, the text in headlines and the text in hyperlinked anchor texts.”
There are many other KPIs than can be applied to monitor website performance. Here are just a few :
- number of leads coming through the website Contact Form
- of those, the number of transactions that occur
- of those, the amount they contribute to overall business turnover, and net profit
- SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – more information – What is SERP? and How SERP Works
The list of potential performance measures can be extensive. Most require a little record keeping and analysis effort, but not much more.
Where To Now?
The first step is to get Google Analytics working on your website, and then learning from Google Help how to interpret the data. Next, define and measure any other KPIs that make sense to you in highlighting the contribution of your website to your business. Armed with this information, consider changes required on your website to improve the KPIs (there is plenty of expert advice available, particularly from SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) consultants, and you’ll find an explanation of SEO here.
Last, but critically important – don’t stop testing and improving! This is the stage we spoke about at the beginning of this article. Treat your website as an employee, and consistently work to make it the most effective it can be to maximise the benefit to your business, and the “return on investment” you’re getting from your business website.
If you’re standing still, expect to be run over!”
Happy analysis – and Good Luck!