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Why is it important to measure your website’s performance?

Will Smith
Sep 13, 2019

This article was written by Will Smith from Authentic Style a growth-driven web design agency based in Dorset.

If you have spent valuable time and money creating a website, then it goes without saying that you’ll want to get a good return on your investment.

But how do you know whether it’s working or not?

Obviously, you’ll know if you’re receiving enquiries but what if you’re not, or you need more detailed information about what’s working and what isn’t?

Then you’ll need to be analyse how it’s performing and how your visitors are interacting with it to be able to measure its success.

There are a number of tools out there that can assist. Here’s a few that will help.

Google Analytics

This is a free tool that will help you measure the visitors to your website. It will help you track the number of visits ‘sessions’ and the unique visitors ‘users’ to your site and will tell you how many of these are new and how many are returning to your site on a daily basis.

Reviewing these statistics can really help you measure how your audience is growing and how any changes that you make to your site, or advertising channels, are affecting this growth.

Returning visitors will likely indicate that people are interested in your brand and might be thinking about purchasing or contacting you. New visitors will show whether your efforts to drive traffic to your website are working.

You will also be able to analyse where the traffic is actually coming from, ie from Google searches; social media; PPC ads; promotional emails etc, and will show you if any keywords are pushing traffic your way.

Google Analytics will also tell you about your ‘bounce rate’ (how many people leave your site without interacting with it) and the average session time of your potential customers - generally speaking the longer someone is spending on your site the more likely they are to make a purchase or get in touch.

Most websites have Google Analytics installed, but are you actually making use of the data it’s collecting?

Google Search Console

This is a free web service offered by Google that allows you to monitor, maintain and troubleshoot how your site is performing in Google search results. It helps you understand and improve how Google is seeing your website.

Many websites don’t have a Search Console account set up, but we’d highly recommend it for these 3 reasons:

1. Google will notify you of any issues its had indexing your site, you can then fix them quickly so it doesn’t impact your rankings.

2. You can see how your site is performing in Google searches - so how many times your site was clicked on versus how many times it was seen in the search listings.

3. It will also show you the exact key phrases that your site is showing up for, which is invaluable.

Hotjar

This is a really useful tool that reveals the online behaviour of visitors to your website. By combining both analysis and feedback.

The Hotjar tools include:

Heatmaps​ - that give you a visual representation of your visitors clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. It can help show up any difficulties visitors are having with locating things on your website so you can change and improve things where you need to.

Visitor recordings​ - these show how visitors are behaving on your site so you can see exactly how they’re clicking, tapping, their mouse movements etc so you can identify any usability issues that there may be.

Surveys​ - you can even ask visitors questions by displaying a tiny little pop up at the bottom of your site. For example you might ask a question like “If you could improve anything about our site, what would it be?”. Open questions like this allow you to get feedback directly from the people using your website so you can take it on board and make changes.

Google Website Optimizer

This free website optimisation tool is designed to increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by allowing you to continually test different combinations of your website content.

You can test ‘calls to action’, forms, headings, images, copy etc, or any combinations of these, against alternatives to tell you which versions convert better than others so that you can adapt and make changes against real data rather than just guessing.

The technical term for this is “split-testing”. You’re essentially showing 50% of visitors the original version of your homepage. for example, and the remaining 50% a slightly different version. You set a goal, run the test, and wait for a result. If your changed page won, you promote it to be the live version of your page.

Doing this allows you to continually refine and improve your site.

Conclusion

It’s certainly not enough to get yourself a website these days and just sit back and wait for the customers to come rolling in.

You need to be cleverer.

You need to understand how your customers are finding you, where the traffic is coming from, how they’re interacting with your site when they do find you and how long they’re staying when they visit.

You can then make changes as you need to, test these changes and look at the real data so you can monitor how your site is performing and how any changes that you make affect these. You can also measure how your advertising is performing and what types of advertising are working better than others so that your spend is as effective as possible.

There’s plenty of tools out there to help you so just do your research for which will be best for you and get started.

Will is the founder of Authentic Style, a Dorset based web design and digital marketing agency who design and build bespoke websites differently. Their "Growth-Driven" approach allows your business to launch a beautifully designed website that not only looks better than your existing website, but is substantially more effective and takes much less time to get completed too. Once it's live, it then gathers data & improvements are made each month or each quarter to maximise its effectiveness drastically lengthening the life of your brand new website. You can visit the Authentic Style website here.

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