When you’ve taken all the right steps in setting up an online presence but still struggle to see the results, you might be asking yourself – what’s the point of a website anyway?
But, before you pull the plug on any website activities, here are four ways to get an insight into your website’s health so you can improve its performance and produce a greater return on investment for your business one web page at a time.
Measure the right kind of success
A simple Google search produces website results on almost every topic and unsurprisingly, there are over 3.5 billion Google searches made every day. But in the cluttered world of information and content, accurately understanding how customers interact with your business is crucial to measuring success.
Some businesses will make the mistake of considering its ideal success metrics well after a website’s development but more alarming is the number of businesses that measure the wrong type of success. While the tools of measuring a website’s performance are common across businesses, knowing which numbers matter most is a trickier pursuit and the wrong numbers can tell a very different story.
Websites exist to perform a variety of roles – share information, sell a product, list business details or tell a story. Before making the assumption that a website is performing well or poorly, begin with the basic questions – what role does my website play and what metrics will measure its ability to perform this role?
For example, if the primary purpose of your website is to share your contact details, looking at the bounce rate for your blog section in isolation may not give an accurate picture of your website’s success in reaching its primary goal.
Health check: Identify the purpose of your website and the core action you want a visitor to take to determine the type of success measures you should be tracking. The right data will give you a correct indication of your website so you can action tests, changes and provide solutions where they are most needed.
Your customer is not you
Business owners can often forget that not everyone is familiar with your product or brand, especially your customers and it’s likely that the content of your website was written with innocent assumptions about your service offering.
Writing about your brand and tweaking your messaging requires a comfortable understanding of who your customers are, their needs and how they communicate. Speaking to customers in their tone and style can build trust and enhance your brand reputation – remember, your website is not solely about you.
Give your website’s content a re-read from the fresh perspective of a new visitor and look out for industry jargon, brand terms or narratives that assume the history, context and purpose of your brand is known by the reader.
Health check: Try printing out your homepage or ‘About Us’ page and ask someone to read it out loud – replace words or phrases that are not in the everyday lingo of your customers and replace with copy that is user-first.
Looks aren’t everything
Building and nurturing a website in its early stages can easily become more about the aesthetics than the substance. It can become tempting to focus on your brand assets, logo visibility and images before anything else but sharing the right brand message is the most pertinent step to the long term health of your website.
Yes, the look and feel of your website does make a difference but your customers are more concerned about the ease at which they can complete an action or find a piece of information – the goal of your website is not just to look great but to help users fulfil a desired action.
Easy website navigation starts with an intuitive design so customers can find the information they require to convert. Here are a few tips to ensures a smooth site navigability:
- Language in the menu should be straightforward
- Add breadcrumbs on every page so people are aware of their path and can easily navigate back to an earlier page.
- Minimise the amount of next steps you provide to a user with clear call to actions.
Mobile friendly designs will largely influence how your customers view and interact with your website. Regularly test the experience of navigating your website on mobile – are the images taking up too much space? Is your homepage menu too long? Can you condense the text and reduce time spent scrolling?
Across all devices, your website should showcase your business’ services and products with benefit-led and easy to understand content, followed by visual elements that support what you’re trying to say.
Health check: Bad stock photos dilute your brand messaging with a sense of tackiness and disingenuity. Take an inventory of the images on your website and for every stock photo or image that drives little value, replace it with photos of real employees, customers, location or products.
You snooze, you lose
The biggest deterrent on a website is a slow loading page – close to half of your page visitors will abandon a page with a load time of more than three seconds so in your regular website health checks, evaluating your page load speed on desktop and mobile devices is a sure step towards a smooth customer experience on your website.
Speeding up your website’s load speed should be a top priority for your website on desktop and mobile – ensure your load times are not affected by large image files, lots of redirects, and clunky scripts and HTML.
Just like we need regular check ups for our well being, a routine analysis of your website identifies areas to strengthen your customer’s experience online and spots to optimise your content for your users. Regular health checks will set your website up for success in the long run and improve its performance step by step.