Website evaluations give us insight into the performance we are getting in return for our marketing investments
With the whole population shifting their communication, shopping, and sharing to online, your website is more important than it's ever been. And while most websites have a large banner that speaks to immediate COVID-19 measures, that won't be enough to keep up with the pace of change that is occurring online. Taking stock of your website anytime there is a major market disruption is a good practice, with digital change fueling social change at such a rapid pace.
Without regular website evaluations and strategic improvement, your website expense could be an investment in invisibility, instead of growth.
Evaluate Your Website with one or all four of these methods:
1. Change Check-Up
A Change Check-Up allows you to quickly identify areas that you need to address online in the short-term. Don't let the fear of having to make website updates stop you from diagnosing what is happening. Updates can actually be easy. It asks the question: "What has changed with my organization or my customers, and is that being addressed on my website?"
Start by creating a couple of short lists:
- List one will identify any important changes that you've made in your business, such as adding or removing services, new incentives, or special offers.
- List two will identify what has changed with your customers. Take a little time with this list. Ask anyone who is getting customer questions or who has direct customer interface what has changed with your customers, and what questions customers are asking now. (We'd recommend a regular collection of customer questions as a routine activity.) The first COVID responses for many businesses were that customers had simply stopped buying, or that customers were knocking down the doors. As we move on from the early stages, longer-term changes will set in and paying attention to those changes is important.
Does your website evaluation reveal that you are presenting your most recent business offerings, or is it out of date?
With your lists in hand, carve out a few minutes to review your website. If you're the person that updates the website, it's a good idea to have someone else complete this activity too, because you may look at your website so often you miss things that are obvious to others. Look for a very clear, and very fast way for customers to find and learn about what you've noted on your two lists. That means that it should be referenced on the home page, in a top menu item, or both.
2. Diagnose your Digital Drivers
People visit your website and become leads or customers from sources that you should be tracking. When the market experiences big disruptions, online search and viewing behaviors change. With or without big market changes, checking up on your big online drivers should be a regular activity. The equation you're monitoring is more website visitors = (should equal) more customers.
Here are the things that you should check:
- Overall website traffic trends. You should look for a consistent growth trend, and while you'll see ups and downs, the trend should be consistent upward. You can use Google Analytics for this, or for a faster read you can use HubSpot (this is Story's preference).
- Website visit sources. Look at your visits from:
- organic traffic
- paid digital ads
- social networks
- direct traffic (people who already have your domain in their browser)
If your digital drivers are hitting on all cylinders and you are seeing a consistent upward trend, then the next thing you check is #3, leads and customers online. If one or more of these digital drivers are in decline, then remember that traffic relies upon the content and quality of your website. This is why many new websites and the process used to build them is a disappointment. Even social networks have to be anchored back to website posts and pages in order to build traffic. Digital ads are also purchased based on the total quality of the ad, which includes the page the ad links to on your website.
3. Audit Online Leads and Customers
If traffic is up, then the next place to look is at how many leads and customers your website is creating. There is more than one kind of online conversion (i.e. when someone completes a form or click a call to action). Some should be essentially as simple as submitting an email address, while others as complex as giving details that can lead directly to a sale.
- Check how many types of online conversions you have on your website. This should always include more than the form on your contact page and phone number in the footer. You should have multiple conversion types on each page or article. The options should range from simple email in order to receive information of value all the way to complete details that go into creating an order.
- Check on the number of conversions that you've created in the last quarter. Group these names by type:
- Email and/or name only
- Contact Provided Basic Details
- Contact provided extensive details (company name, phone number, position, etc)
- Closed a Sales online
- Add the number of follow-up contacts made alongside each lead type.
- Finally, run a comparison between these lists and actual customers that you've closed. If you're using a CRM-enabled (customer relationship management) website or digital sales tools, this number can be automatically tracked all of the time.
Here's what your chart should look like:
|Conversion Type||Leads Collected||Customers Closed|
|Light: Email and/or name|
|Limited Contact Details|
|Full Contact Details|
|Online Sale||(or upsell if closed online)|
What you discover in this self-evaluation using leads and customers online will tell you a couple of things that can lead to dramatic website and lead improvement. The comparison between online leads and closed customers is always an important one. This is the comparison that is most likely to lead to immediate action. What you find may also tell you that you simply haven't created enough options, or that the follow-up to those options is lacking.
4. Current Click Count
Now it's time for two additional lists. First, make a list of the top 3 actions that you want your prospects to complete. Second (and far more important), make a list of top three things that a prospect would want to look at once they've arrived at your site. Once your lists are complete, do a click count.
How to do a click count
Count the number of clicks required to get to the online locations on both of your lists. Put that click number next to each item on both lists.
Do your click math by adding up the total on each list, once for the number from your laptop and once for the number from your mobile search.
|Action||What Customers Want||What I Want|
|Top Action 1|
|Top Action 2|
|Top Action 3|
Here's what your totals tell you:
- 9 for either column is way too many
- 5 or less is closer to reasonable
- >3 is optimum
You can repeat this process on your mobile device, which will require "taps" instead of clicks to see what your numbers are. You may also want to think about how customers on mobile devices interests may be different than those searching from a desktop. For instance, we know that purchases and visits are closely tied to mobile searches.
It's important to prioritize what customers are looking for first, then the actions you want them to take. If you're numbers are too high, then some website redesign is in order.
Here are a couple of additional evaluations that you can complete:
If you are running a WordPress website, get a free review and learn about all the things the free HubSpot plugin can do to help you build leads.