This post is Step 2 of my series of blog posts, ‘Running a successful website in the real world’. Click here for more information.
The purpose of this post is to gain some idea of what your website is achieving for you at the moment, and working out what success looks like – it simply means that you’ve then got some measure of how the time you are investing in your website is paying off.
It’s easy to get bogged down in this sort of thing, so I intend to make this post very short, sharp and sweet, so we can move on to the important point – achieving success!
Where are you now?
In the context of what you want your website to do for you, how is it performing at the moment?
Here are some useful questions to start with:
- Approximately how many enquiries does your website generate per month? (you may also like to think about the % compared with enquiries via word of mouth, etc)
- Are these the right type of enquiries? How many convert into business?
- What volume of traffic does your website currently receive? What is the bounce rate for your home page? (See note below)
- How visible is your website currently in search engines? Both for brand and non-brand keywords.
- What impression does your website give? (Tip: ask a client or friend for their candid opinion)
- What content is on your website? Is it clearly signposted and easily accessible? Does Analytics data show that it’s being looked at?
- Are you confident when you give out your website address, or do you hide it away because you’re embarrassed of your website?!
- Where is the primary hub for all your news and content – on your website, on social media platforms or offline?
Note: technically at this point, one should go off and do a more in-depth study of your analytics data. If you have the time and inclination, I would highly recommend doing this, or hiring a reputable SEO/Analytics consultant to do it for you. In the absence of these, the above is better than nothing.
Go and find the answers to the above questions and jot them down somewhere!
What does success look like?
Remember, the reason for asking this question is so that you’ve got some way to gauge success – and so that you can see how far you’ve come after a few changes! Don’t agonise over it for too long.
For some of the more ‘qualitative’ goals, it’s not always possible to put concrete figures against success. But you may still identify certain markers against which you will measure. It’s up to you whether you jot this down in a notebook, make a simple spreadsheet or do something far more wacky. The important thing is that your measures of success get written down.
I’ll give some examples below to get you started:
Goal: To reinforce and consolidate my profile and reputation.
Success: Website content and style match that which I portray offline. I’m 100% confident giving out my website address.
Goal: To be the hub of all our marketing activities.
Success: All content (other than brief comment/discussion) published initially on website and then shared elsewhere. A well-structured, easily navigable website.
Goal: To generate sales.
Success: A 15% increase in sales over the next quarter OR to increase the proportion of our sales that originate via the web to 50%.
Goal: To provide support and information relating to our range of products.
Success: A 20% reduction in the number of calls made to our support team
Goal: To become known as the ‘go-to’ expert in my line of business.
Success: X number of mentions/recommendations linking back to my website.
Refer back to the goals you put down in Step 1, consider where you are now (see above), and then put some concrete success measures down on paper. The more specific you can be, the better!
Step 3 to follow shortly…!