Website trends and technologies fall out of fashion more quickly than the trends seen on the catwalks. Last year? It was all long scrolling pages and blocky layouts. Next year? It seems that white space, expressive typography and scroll animations are in, in, in. Now we should be clear here: we’re not about change for the sake of it or updates that ultimately place aesthetics above user experience. Our ethos is totally, wholly focused on user experience – and that’s about so much more than how your website simply looks. Here we dig into why it’s always a good idea to consider whether your website is delivering the goods, and what cold, hard data can help you answer this key question.
First of all: You do have a website, right?
3.5 billion Google searches are undertaken every, single, day – and 9 out of 10 consumers rely on the internet to locate and evaluate local goods and services, so it’s pretty incredible to think that 46% of small businesses STILL don’t have a website (you’re not amongst them, are you?!). If so you’re missing out on a business tool that creates critical credibility, and that could see you joining 83% of businesses that say “their online platforms gave them a competitive advantage over businesses without websites”.
Already have a website? Good start.
So, just what should you expect from a well performing website?
The short answer? Plenty. The long answer? These seven compelling advantages….
- The essential ability to be found, online
- The ability to expand, globally, as and when you wish on the turn of a dime.
- To inform, engage and convert your audience.
- To create trust and credibility
- To react, rapidly, to market changes
- The chance to resonate and connect with your audience
- To understand your target market in ways you previously thought impossible (we dive into this next)
Now for that invaluable website data we mentioned…
Knowing what your website should do, and whether or not it is indeed performing, are two different things entirely. To understand whether your website is more business asset, less online liability, you need data – lots of data. Here’s what you should be looking for with Google Analytics (or whatever your choice of website analytics software is).
Visitors are said to ‘bounce’ when they arrive but leave very shortly after with little to no interaction having taken place. If your website has a high bounce rate, there could be a number of reasons behind it:
- Irrelevant content based on what your visitors are searching for
- Illogical content organisation – resulting in visitors that can’t discover the information they need
- Poor optimization of landing pages
- Lacklustre visual design/layout
- Poor usability and clunky user experience
- Long load times (by four seconds, you’ll have lost 25% of your visitors)
Suffering from chronic bounce rates, no matter the changes you make? Then it’s likely time for an update that can tackle all of the above issues in one foul swoop.
Visitor to conversion ratio
(Conversions/Sessions)*100 = Conversion Rate
That equation right there is how you calculate your visitor to conversion ratio. The figure that you arrive at should be measured every day, week, month. If your visitor numbers are sky high but your conversions (such as a contact or product sale) are low, then there’s a problem. A rule of thumb that some work to is a conversion rate of 2% to 3% – punching far below this? Then, you guessed it, it’s time to think about a redesign.
You’ll never reach a point in time where every visitor converts – it just doesn’t happen. However, you do need to understand the way they are engaging whilst your visitors are online with you. Here are some fundamental questions that need answering month in, month out:
- What are your users doing whilst on your website?
- Are your visitors flowing through the website as you wish?
- Are they arriving at critical conversion points – such as product pages or sales pages?
To get to the bottom of these questions consider:
- The time spent on your website, and on specific pages – study the ones that show notably long/short visits – what’s the difference between these pages?
- The exit points on your website – is there something wrong with these pages? What information is missing that visitors may be looking for?
- The online places that your visitors arrive from – look at the search terms your visitors are using – do they chime with the content you’re presenting?
Ultimately if you reach a tipping point with metrics so poor that you’d be tweaking and editing your website design forever more, it’s time to consider calling in the professionals for an update.