How will your client determine whether its new website is delivering on its investment? Metrics give you the ability to analyze visitor numbers and visitor behaviour on the site.
What do visitors experience and how do they react? Measuring these factors must be planned for; in most cases, the right tools must be built into the site. Your client can set targets for specific visitor actions, such as:
- contact form submissions
- document downloads
- event registrations
- news article viewings
- merchandise purchases.
Each of these actions creates value in a different way. A subscription opens the door to regular communications and to forming a brand relationship. A download places a document with your branding and message on a user’s desktop, and possibly in print circulation.
Conversion optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors who become ‘customers’ – not necessarily buying a product but performing an action on the site that initiates some form of contact.
There are several techniques that can be used to improve a website’s conversion rate. A/B testing is particularly useful. An A/B test splits traffic 50/50 across two alternative pages. It can be employed at any point where a user can choose to take an action on the site: signing up for a newsletter, downloading a brochure, or making a purchase. The intent is to measure how changing elements of the page – content or layout – affects the frequency of that action.
Targeted messaging can generate repeat visits and user feedback, as well as deliver content that may not be available on the site itself. Some examples of targeted communications include e-mail campaigns, tweets, and RSS.
You can choose merely to provide content that people can download. However, it’s often better to provide a simplified document as a download and offer a more complete version by e-mail to those who register on the site. Requested messaging ensures that the address entered is valid, adds the user to your mailing list, and gives your brand more exposure. It can be followed up by various forms of automated messaging.
Even clients who already have websites and are happy with them may wish to add these or similar metrics tools. These tools will need to be designed and implemented. Enhancements to existing sites can be an ongoing source of work and revenue.
Site usage and tracking
Every visitor to a website leaves tracks. Reading these tracks can give you the feedback you need to improve the site and its messaging. Most sites use Google Analytics because it is extremely robust, allows site managers to identify goals and tracking, ties in directly with the Google AdWords engine, and is free to use.