Building a new website can be expensive so making sure it was worth the investment is important. You want your website to bring value. Value can mean different things according to who you are, what your business is and what you want to accomplish. Therefore, the first step is to determine what value you want your website to bring to users.

What goals do you want your website to achieve?

We suggest you have three main goals. Goals usually fall in two categories; they bring revenue, or they engage your customer. Examples of goals that bring revenue are to increase online sales, recruit new customers, or drive customer to your store. Examples of goal that engage the customers are to get users to register for a free trial, to display your catalog of product or to get customers to read your blog.

How do you measure your results?

Use a tool such as Google Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics or Bing Webmaster tool. Google Analytics is probably the most commonly used of all of them.

  1. Is the number of qualified visitors increasing?

    Qualified visitors are visitors that are not yet customers but have the potential to be. Visitors that use direct traffic (type in the address) are not the most valuable customers, as they already know about your site. Qualified visitors come from two ways: unpaid searches, or referring sites.
    Unpaid searches: Traffic from unpaid searches results from users doing research on a search engine and clicking on your site. You can monitor which keywords visitors use to reach your site and group them by product or services.
    Referring Sites: Traffic from referring sites result from visitors of other sites clicking on a link going to your site. Logically, referring sites link to your content because it is valuable. Hence, the page that is the most linked to probably has the most relevant content. Use this to know what visitors are interested in on your site.

    If the numbers or visits in both of these categories are increasing, your website is creating value and achieving your user goals.

  2. Are visitors returning?

    Visitors return to your page because they get value out of it. You can track what percentage of visits are new visits or returning visits. Ideally, you want a mix of both, showing that users come back to your site but that you also get new visitors. Track which pages returning visitors consult, it will tell you which pages are the most valuable to them. Make sure they are pages that will fulfill your engagement goals; review your content if it isn’t the case.

  3. Do visitors get value out of your site?

    Engagement goals are measured by the value visitors get out of your site. If they are interested in buying your products, then visiting your online store will bring them value. But most of them will probably just want to learn more about your products, services, or pricing.

    Sales: Track how many customers place an order by setting up a goal on Google Analytics. The easiest method is to fire an event when users reach the order confirmation page. Using what you did in step 1, learn how the visitors that are achieving these goals come to your site and determine what type of customers are more valuable. It may be that visitors are looking to buy “porcelain sink” tend to place more orders than visitors looking for “bathroom sink”. Advise your advertising and content strategy according to your goal tracking.

    Engagement: Set a goal on Analytics for visitors to stay on your blog for at least one minute, or to read at least two pages. These two goals would prove that visitors find your site interesting enough to read its content and look for more information. Once again, cross-reference the users completing a goal with the keywords and sites they used to reach your page; update your content accordingly.

    The opposite of how long visitors stayed on your page is the bounce rate: how many visitors leave the site as soon as they load it because they can’t find what they’re looking for. This will tell you what type of customers you could create value for, or what type of customers not to target.

Google Analytics offers custom reporting options so that you can measure what is right for your website. Being able to master your analytics is important to effectively manage your website and advertising strategy.

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