Before we get started on methods and strategies to market a website we need to determine what our goals might be and what indicators we need to measure. Without goals how will we know if we’re successful with our marketing?
Most businesses set goals in every aspect of their operations. They set goals like sell 1,000 units this month, do $100,000 in business this quarter or reduce operation costs by 20% this year. The two things these goals have in common is that they are measurable and they have a timeframe. You would be able to tell if you sold 1,000 units this month, did $100,000 in business this quarter or reduced operation costs by 20% this year.
I talk with lots of business owners who tell me they want to increase traffic to their site or convert more visitors into leads. These are poor goals because they are abstract, lack the ability to be measured and a timeframe. When you set goals for your website they should be things like increase traffic by 10% month after month or increase our ecommerce conversion rate to 2.5% this year. Each website is unique and presents its own challenges and opportunities. So each website will have its own goals. It wouldn’t make much sense to set a goal of increasing your web sales if your website is a blog. Likewise increasing your RSS subscribers probably would not be a good goal for an online store.
So remember to set goals for your website, make sure they are measurable and make sure they have a timeframe.
On our way to our goals there are other items we should be measuring and tracking to see if we are improving our website’s performance. Of course we need a system to be able to measure these indicators. This is accomplished through installing an analytics program on the website. There are many analytics programs out there. You can read about some of them here and here. Probably the most well-known application for tracking your website’s performance is Google Analytics. Of course if you can afford it I recommend Omniture.
As with our goals we discussed earlier, our key performance indicators or KPIs will be unique for each website. On some websites it is important for people to spend lots of time on the site or visit many pages. On other sites it is all about the number of visitors per month. By comparing your KPIs to your website’s goals you get an understanding of well it performs with your visitors. So you need to think like your visitors and envision how you want them to use your website in order to analyze your KPIs and determine if you are getting closer to your goals.
For example if you run a photoblog you update several times per day you probably do not care about the length of time people spend on a page. If you think like a visitor you will see that most people will not spend a long time evaluating your photographs. They will simply go to the page, quickly view the image and then move on. Time on page might not be an important KPI, but the number of pages they visit per session would be the KPI to look at.
Here is another example. If your website provides content in a specialized niche you want your visitors to read that content, so the important KPI to analyze is the time on site for each visit. If your time on site drops you know that your content is not engaging your visitors and you probably will not reach your goal of increasing the number of visitors to your site. On the flip side, if your time on site increases you know you are engaging your visitors with what they are searching for and you’ll be one step closer to reaching your goal. Read more about KPIs on the Search Engine Journal.
You should now be ready to set your web marketing goals and after installing an analytics program you should be able to find the KPIs that are important to your site. Join me next week for another Web Marketing Wednesday when I discuss one KPI in particular – search engine rankings and the tools you can use to analyze them.