One of the questions that every small business owner needs to ask themselves before creating a website is, “What is the purpose of this website?” Perhaps you didn’t figure this out clearly before you started your site, but it would still pay to ask yourself this question, and make some adjustments moving forward.
So why do you have a website? Does the website exist to sell your products online? Is it designed to present information to your customers about you business? Does your site exist to convince people to volunteer with your organization? There are no real wrong answers, except trying to do everything on your site. Sometimes when we are creating content, we get in the “more is better” mindset. While we don’t want to have a threadbare site, we don’t want to dilute the site with a whole bunch of content and features that do not further our goals. Often, what is not on your site can be just as important as what is on your site.
Using tools like Google Analytics for more than just seeing from where in the world people are visiting your site (because let’s face it; it’s pretty cool to see that someone is looking at your site from Uzbekistan!) can help. Analytics allow us to set goals, and to see how our sites are doing against those goals. Goals can be anything from signing up for a newsletter, clicking viewing a certain number of pages, sharing content on social media, or making a purchase. By having a clear understanding of the purpose of our site, and clear goals in mind for what we would like our visitors to do (besides just mail us in boxes of cash), will help us to decide what needs to be included in our site.
What does that look like practically? Let’s say for instance that you work for a non-profit, and you’ve set up a website to raise awareness on a particular issue, and to mobilize volunteers to help in some initiative to deal with said issue. Using website analytics, we can see on which pages people are landing. It could be your home page, or perhaps you’ve set up landing pages corresponding to various email marketing campaigns. Perhaps it is on a blog post that you’ve been sharing on Facebook or twitter. set goals such as signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a volunteer registration form. We can see how many of our visitors are meeting our goals. We can see from which pages they are leaving our site, and we can make adjustments accordingly. If we see a lot of people coming to our site, but dropping off before they convert, we can try to reduce the number of clicks between landing and reaching our goal, or clearing away unnecessary distractions.
In short, we all seem to have very short attention spans these days, and we need to keep obstacles and distractions to a minimum for our visitors, in order to see our site reach it’s maximum effectiveness.
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