How Can You Tell if Your Website is Effective?

Summary: To improve your site’s conversion rate you must be able to tell if an how your website is effective. The only way to tell if a website is effective is to have an analytics package such as Google Analytics. With an analytics package you can measure how customers are interacting with your website. Google Analytics is one of the most popular packages and it is free. Other packages are available from other companies at reasonable cost.

How would you prove that you have a good website?

As with most aspects of business, opinions are not very reliable. One man’s beauty is another man’s ugliness. Put another way, the website you think is great may be horrible to the customer. Thus, the only way to prove whether your website is good is by measuring it at work with real customers.

To illustrate, let’s ask another question. How does a sprinter know he is fast? Can he just say, “Well the wind seems to be going pretty fast by my head. I must be fast?” Nope. The sprinter might think he’s fast, only to be smoked by his competitors on race day. Indeed, a sprinter must keep close watch on the time it takes him to complete his race. If his time is faster than other runners, he knows he is fast. Measurement is the only way.

How can you measure your website? First you must figure out what you want/need to measure. The simplest statistic you might want to track is the total number of visitors. Yet, this statistic won’t get you very far.

More detailed statistics are generally better. For example, you might want to see what percentage of users, that are finding your website from Google, are requesting product information from your company. Is the number lower or higher than you expected?

A popular statistic in retail is your shopping cart abandonment rate. What if 99% of shopping carts that are started on your site are being abandoned? That would be frightful. It would indicate that 99% of users, intending to purchase from your company, somehow were scared away. Perhaps a small change to your shopping cart would make a huge difference.

Depending on the design of your website, you can get all of the statistics mentioned, and more, from a website analytics package such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free resource that allows you to get awesome analytical data about traffic on your website.

In this post, I will not show you how to integrate analytics for your website. Nor will I recommend what metrics you should measure. That’s for each company to decide separately. But I will tell you that, unless you have some sort of analytics package for your website you will be operating blind.

So don’t assume you have a great website. Invest in a good analytics package today and prove it through measurement. Google Analytics, one of the best packages around, is free. So there is no reason for delay. Once you start measuring your website, you are on your way to improving your site’s conversion rate.