Once you have these (the various other suggestions and strategies for website optimization) in place, make sure you have Google Analytics or some way to measure your traffic to determine if the problem is – not enough people getting to your site, or not enough people taking action on your site.
Google Analytics is a free resource by the wonderpeople at Google. They realize that the more you improve your websites, the more people will search because they get better answers. Plus if you make money or have success with your website (readers, subscribers, callers, or however YOU clearly define a successful website), you will invest more into the web, including marketing. Hey! Google sells some marketing with GoogleAdWords (and makes a TON!). So Google has a bunch of free tools and information to improve your traffic so they can make more money.
Every time you (or anyone) goes to a webpage, you send a request to the server of the webpage or webhost server for something – the text, an image, some flash, a sound file – whatever. In order to keep it all straight, there is also ‘who requested the info’ (so the webhost knows who to send the answer to), where you were last (to help maintain continuity and to understand where you were), time and what you asked for. Most webhosts can keep a log of all those requests and may have some programs to take those computer geek files and make pretty charts and graphs and reports. But more and more, the simpler solution that most small, medium, and large (not many gigantic) sites are using Google Analytics. A big reason medium and large sites use Google Analytics is that those log files can get real big (larger then a DVD worth of data). So trying to handle whole file can get real cumbersome even for a fast computer. Imagine a website with the average page that has 9 photos and someone usually visits 5 pages and there are 1,000 visitors a month (or 33 visitor per day)- that is over 50,000 entries for a relatively low volume site. Imagine a speadsheet with that many rows. Google has lots of computers and hard drive space to handle that, but many office computers start to get bogged down. Oh, did I mention another big advantage – Google Analytics is FREE.
You can use Google Analytics by following the instructions at http://www.google.com/analytics/#utm_medium=et&utm_source=us-en-et-bizsol-0-biz1-all&utm_campaign=en of course you have to put the code on each page in order to get full value (just like you have to put cameras at all doors to your store to get full value from each any camera – you want to know who is visiting through all entrances).
Once you start getting your reports you can start to analyze what your visitors are doing when they get to your site:
- Are they looking at one page and leaving?
- Are they starting a shopping cart, getting frustrated and leaving?
- Are they looking at your service descriptions and then looking at the prices (and leaving)?
- Are they going straight to terms and conditions page or to the price page?
- Are they looking at the comparison page comparing the free version and the paid version without downloading either?
These are all tools to understanding what you need to do to improve your site to meet your customers needs and improve sales. Having played detective as to why your visitors are coming and going without leaving a name or credit card number, comes the creative part – Improving the website to meet the needs of your customers. If this is your business then this part should be your passion. How to serve the customer to make them Raving Fans (Ken Blanchard) and improve your Net Promoter Score (NPS). If this is not your passion – then ask your best customers what their honest reactions are to your site while watching them navigate through it the way they want to.