We’re about to jump on an analogy train, so I’m going to need everyone to put on their seatbelts.
I like to think of a company’s website as a fancy vehicle that drives your business forward. It drives awareness, communicates a story, and hopefully converts viewers into buying products or services. It can either be vital to a business or a complementary tool to boost sales.
So how does your vehicle fare when it comes to performance? How do you know that your website is a high-converting site? Let’s discuss.
What’s under the hood?
I feel like the Ford Pinto takes a lot of heat, but it really is the perfect analogy. If you aren’t familiar, let me give you a little back story to bring you up to speed.
In order to compete against imported sub-compact cars, the Ford Pinto was rushed into production in the year 1971. Back in those times, the average time to design and build a vehicle was about 43 months. Ford decided it only had 25 months to get it out into the market. You probably aren’t going to be shocked, but yes, corners were indeed cut.
Safety was the biggest issue in the Ford Pinto. Due to very poor design, the fuel tank placement in the car’s rear put drivers at serious risk. In the event of a rear-end collision, even at low speeds, the gas tank had a high probability of catching on fire. In fact, 27 people died in Pinto fires.
What I’m driving at is this: when projects are rushed, and critical components are overlooked, you may be setting yourself up for a disaster or at least inefficient performance. Furthermore, if you aren’t putting the right tools in place in the very beginning, you have no way to tell how your website is doing in terms of converting potential buyers into paying customers.
Thankfully, a poor website will neither catch fire nor put anyone’s life in danger, but it might cost you in other ways. It could affect sales. A website is great in and of itself, but you will need a few extra gadgets under the hood if you want to know how well it actually works. Adding those additional technology components to track statistics is almost vital to measuring success. Ah, yes. Let’s just say you probably want the Tesla of websites. A few more bells and whistles, but definitely worth the extra investment.
The Measurement of Success
To measure the success of a website, you must indeed have the means to measure it. Secondly, you need to know what you are measuring. Every business is unique and therefore has different goals. What one person considers to be a successful website is going to look entirely different for another company. It could be determined by one of the following factors:
- An upsurge in newsletter sign-ups
- More online sales
- Increase of free content downloads
- A boost in online reservations
- Gains in form submissions
To claim a high-converting site, you will need to know the numbers. First, you determine what your goal is. Second, you track how many times that goal was completed. The following equation might help you assess your site conversions. It’s exceptionally straightforward and doesn’t take a mathematician to figure it out.
Number of Goals Achieved / Total Number of Visitors
The equation should give you a percentage of site conversions. For example, if you had 20 people complete the desired goal in a month (i.e., 20 people downloaded a free e-book). And you had 1,000 visitors in that month; we know that you had a conversion rate of 2%.
Let’s say you were trying to get those numbers boosted, so you implement a new strategy to get more conversions. This strategy might be something like redesigning the page to be more intuitive or driving more traffic with Google Ads. There’s another simple equation to figure that out.
If you are making changes on a website and you want to know if they had any influence in making an impact on the business, you need to know the numbers before the changes were made as well as after.
High Converting Site =
Conversion Rate Before Changes < Conversion RateAfter Changes
So if you decided to drive more traffic to your site with Google Ads, and you got 63 e-book downloads from 2,500 monthly visitors, that would be a conversion rate of 2.5%.
Because your conversion rate is higher after making adjustments to the site or driving more traffic, we can consider our changes a success.
How do you track this?
My go-to tool is Google Analytics. It’s free, and it will give you all the visitor information you could probably desire, down to the location a viewer was at when they visited your site to the browser and device they used. But it goes beyond more than the essential information. You can set up goal tracking in Google Analytics.
There are four types of goals you can track. Those goals types are:
- URL Destination
- Visit Duration
By setting up goal tracking, you won’t need to calculate the actions you want users to take manually. Google Analytics will keep track of these goals for you. The first three goals are pretty straightforward. If landing on a specific page/URL is considered successful, then you can track that. If having more people spend more extended amounts of time is regarded as the desired result, then you would want to track visit duration. If having people look at multiple pages on your site is what you think is excellent, then track the page per visit option. The fourth type of goal can be pretty interesting. With the use of Google Tag Manager, you can create an Event and track specific clicks. So if there is a button that is what you are trying to get people to click, you can create an Event particular to that button. It can get a little complex for the basic Google Analytics user, but there are thousands of YouTube videos out there that will tell you exactly how to set this up.
Google Analytics isn’t the only way to track a website. Want to go into full Big Brother mode in your tech toolbelt? Meet CrazyEgg.
CrazyEgg is a tracking tool that is easy to install on most websites and allows you to get a better picture of how people are using your site. It offers heatmaps to see what area on your page people are gravitating towards, and how they scroll. It even does screen recordings of users on your site. So you can see in real-time how they are interacting.
In addition to heatmaps, scroll maps, and click reports, it gives you the ability to do A/B testing. You can pick a goal, map the desired action, and it will test with variables what path achieves the higher interaction. It will then send more traffic to the winning route.
When I first tried this tool, it seemed a little creepy, but it’s very powerful if you want to get the best information on how people are using your site. It offers a 30 day trial for free. It’s worth checking out to see if it can be a solution for you, especially if you have nothing to lose by signing up. After the 30 day trial, CrazyEgg offers monthly packages based on how many pageviews, snapshots, and recordings you want.
There are many roads to get to the same destination.
The two tools I discussed to track your site are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many ways to track conversions on your site. These are two that I have experience with. Other tools that exist are Clicky, Kiss Metrics, Woopra, and many more.
It doesn’t matter which tool you use. It only matters that you find one that works best for you. Find one that you enjoy using, are comfortable with, and it is easy for you to get the information you need. If it is crucial for you to know if the websites you own or create are performing well, you need to find a way to track them. And start from the beginning! You won’t know how well your site does over time if you aren’t collecting that data from the jump.
What are your thoughts? What tools do you use to determine if your site is high-converting? I’d love to hear.