Thanks to evolving technologies and a growing industry, it’s become commonplace to have analytics or other tracking applications integrated with your website. Unfortunately, installation is only half the battle (ok…more like 5%). While I could list off a laundry list of obscure but potentially useful tips to get the most out of your website and your analytics, I’ll save that for another time. Instead, I present to you the top 3 cant-live-without things that you could and should be doing to get the most out of your website.
1) Define your visitor’s goals
Each page on your website should have a clearly defined goal as part of an overall website strategy. In addition to defining what you are trying to accomplish with each page, make sure you flip it around and approach the page from a visitor’s point of view. Each page should have a clear and obvious action that the visitor shouldn’t have to think much about to complete. These can be as general as contributing to your campaign or signing up for more information or as specific as sharing a single article on Facebook or downloading a case study.
2) Build Landing Pages
No website with a substantial marketing effort behind it can ever reach its potential without implementing landing pages. There are a range of definitions for what a landing page is on the web, but I like to define it as follows – “A single page on your website dedicated to focusing on a particular goal for a particular audience and/or purpose”. These pages are created to act as a place where visitors can land (after clicking on a search result, advertisement, email, etc). The beauty of the landing page is that you can focus on simplifying your website to allow for only one (or sometimes two) actions with no distractions. This allows you focus on the next part of this post – testing and optimizing.
3) Test and Optimize
Testing tools like Google Website Optimizer and Optimizely are finally starting to become mainstream with responsible digital agencies. With the aid of anyone in your company who knows (and has access to) your HTML, you can be up and running in no time. These tools allow you test different elements on a web page to see whether or not they have an effect on overall conversion rate. For more information on testing, I highly recommend Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash. Next time you find yourself arguing with someone about what to do or not do on your website, stop arguing and start testing. One of you is probably right but it’s not always who/what you would think. We’ve seen a drastic change in conversion rates based on simple tests and no change in conversion rates with drastic tests. Frequent test elements we focus on within a given page are:
- Primary imagery
- Heading text
- Form placement
- Submit button text, color and shape
- Text length
- Color palettes
- With/without header
- With/without nav
- With/without social sharing links
As obvious as it may seem, the final piece of the puzzle is making sure you use the data you get to actually improve your results, otherwise your test just serves as an elaborate case study in potentiality.
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