How do you know if your website is working?
You’ve spent time (and probably money) on your website. But is it working as hard as it could be for you?
I don’t mean technically. I mean is it bringing in clients? Because that is what it should be doing…
Before I talk about how you might know this, it is important to note that most websites work best as conversion tools. Your website has a key role in converting people who have found you elsewhere into clients.
Someone might ask a friend for recommendations and then visit your website. If they like what they see they’ll take action – they’ll buy, schedule an appointment, book a call or take whatever action you want them to take.
Same with social media. Most people who find you on social media will then check out your website. Because social media is a “messy” place to work out exactly what you do and how you can help them (it is a great place for people to get to know, like and trust you though). Whereas a good website will give them the information they need (in a logical order) to decide whether to work with you, without boring them with other information.
So please don’t think your website is only working if your leads are coming through SEO (that’s searching for relevant phrases on the likes of Google). It’s working if website visitors are becoming clients, whether they found you through SEO or any other platform.
So how do you know whether your website is getting you clients?
Why it is important to track your website stats
It isn’t just a question of “is my website working for me”, but “what’s working and what can I do to improve it”?
Tracking your website stats allows you to see what is working and what isn’t. So you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
And not just what is working on your website, but what is working across your marketing. I mean who wants to spend time on LinkedIn unless they’re getting sales (via DMs or leads to their website)?? Not me for sure!
If you’re running ads or spending any money on marketing it is even more important. Ad stats don’t tell you the full picture. Some people might see an ad and, rather than click on it, go direct to your website.
But there’s an awful lot of data out there. It can be very confusing and scary. What data should you be looking at and what does it mean?
Don’t just go on your gut feel. There’s lots of stats you can track which will help you. If you have looked at a Google Analytics dashboard you might think there are too many! And tracking them all is a waste of time. You want to track the important ones.
Track overall traffic
An obvious metric is the amount of people visiting your website. And whether it is going up or down!
You can also compare this to the number of people taking the action you want them to take. So how many people are visiting your website and how many are buying or booking that call? The best websites convert at 40% (that’s 40% of visitors who take the action you want them to take, eg buy, make an appointment or book a call). The average is 4%.
There are lots of factors which influence this rate. If your rate is low, it could be because your website is not set up to convert or it could be due to the quality of visitors. Your mum visiting your website on a daily basis might help your website traffic but doesn’t help your conversion rate. Yes you want more visitors but you want “good quality” ones that might become clients…
And if your conversion rate is low it is worth thinking about what you can do on your website to make it better. Does your copy need tweaking? Are your images compelling? Do your Calls to Action guide (do you have Calls to Action)? Do you need a new website (you know we can help you with that one!)?
Track where visitors are coming from
To understand what is currently working within your marketing (and what isn’t) it is important to know where your existing visitors are currently coming from.
- Are they coming from social media?
If so, which platforms. It is worth putting more effort into those platforms which drive traffic to your website. And perhaps look at whether those which drive no or little traffic are worth the effort (of course if you’re getting sales through DMs then they may be…)
You should also track whether the visitors coming from each social media platform have a higher or lower than average conversion rate. Because you want to do more of what converts.
- Are they coming from backlinks on other pages?
This is a great way to see if any PR or advertising is working. If you’re not getting website visitors (and clients aren’t telling you they found you there) then it may not be the best investment.
And if any other businesses list you as eg a “preferred supplier” you can see if it is getting you website traffic.
Again it is not just numbers that matter, but whether these are converting. Anything which is converting at higher than average rates should be increased and anything converting at lower than average rates reconsidered
- Are they coming from search engines?
If people are finding you via search engines (SEO) which words are they using to find you? It’s all well and good getting on page 1 but if you’re not getting traffic from that search term then there’s little point in the ranking!
Are they converting? If they’re not converting is it because it is not the right kind of visitor or because the page they’re landing on is not optimised for conversion?
Track pages visitors land on
Depending upon where your visitors come from they may not visit your homepage first.
You might have different landing pages. You can only have one website link in your Instagram bio. Many people use Linktree but personally I would add a special landing page for Instagram. It can (and should) be a simple page with a few links on. Linking to things you’re promoting on Instagram. You can then track the behaviour of visitors who land on that page – what are they clicking on and what do they ultimately do? Do they convert?
If you’re promoting blog posts on different platforms it is useful to see which ones are attracting visitors and which ones people are not interested in.
When you’re promoting particular services on different platforms you can also see which of these are attracting visitors and which aren’t.
You can see which pages or blog posts are attracting traffic via SEO (potentially from more than one search term). Of course you can then look at what those visitors are doing. Are they converting (and, if not, what can you do about it – what can you change on the page to make them more likely to convert)?
Track pages visitors exit
In an ideal world your website visitors will go through the pages they need to and either leave your website via the checkout page (having bought something) or a page which has the action you want them to take (eg book a call or schedule an appointment).
Understanding the “journey” customers go on is hugely important to increasing conversion. Most importantly is where are they dropping out of that journey?
If you have pages which get a reasonable amount of visitors but they’re exiting your website from that page without taking action, why is that? What can you do to make them stay on your website/take action. Are you directing them somewhere else or are they leaving because they don’t know what to do next?
Once you know where you’re losing people you can work out why, or what you can alter to change that. If you tweak your copy does that increase the number of people who stay on your website? If you change images does that have an impact? What happens if you change your Calls to Action?
This kind of information is gold!!
Track which pages/posts are most read and people spend the most time on
When you know which pages (or blog posts) people are reading you can think about how they can be improved to get people to take action. In the case of blog posts you can also think about creating more of this kind of content.
If you want to get your conversion rates up you need to focus on the pages people are actually reading. There’s no point spending time improving the pages that no-one reads.
One of our top blogging tips is to update an existing blog post which is doing well. When you update it don’t just look at what is out of date, but think about where you want people to go after reading that post and see how you can direct them there.
In terms of stats you want to look at which pages are most read and which people are spending the most time on. These are the ones they’re getting value from.
How do you get this data
There are various tools you can use to collect this data. They all track website visitors in order to do this.
The best known tool for doing this is Google Analytics. This is free and gives all the information you need. Google is in the process of closing it’s old version of Google Analytics and moving people over to Google Analytics 4.
To install it you need to sign up to Google Analytics and then add a small amount of code to your website. If you use wordpress you can use a plugin which will add the code in the right place (Monster Insights is one plugin which will do this for you) or you can add it directly into the header if you know how!
There are some concerns over privacy with Google Analytics as it collects IP addresses (which are stored in the US). You should definitely have a cookies policy and ability to opt out if you use Google Analytics.
There are alternatives to Google Analytics which act differently and, as a result, may not require a cookies notice. Fathom and Plausible are two. Both use European data centres and state they’re compliant with GDPR laws. There’s a small fee for these (because unlike Google they don’t use the data they collect).
Knowing how people are finding and using your website is an important step in getting more clients.
Using a tool like Google Analytics or one of the alternatives like Fathom or Plausible gives you access to a ton of data which means you can see exactly how people are finding your website, the pages they’re reading (and the pages they’re not) and the pages they’re leaving without taking the action you want them to take.
Armed with this data you can start to make changes to your website and see which changes have an impact.
It may be you decide some forms of marketing are not worthwhile whereas others are full of people who become clients. So you can do less of what doesn’t work and more of what does.
It may be you decide to make changes to the pages on your website – changing copy, images, layout and/or Calls to Action to see what improves conversion.
Website data can be incredibly helpful in using your time more effectively.