The stories I come across from small businesses nearly every day, is borderline insane. Some are happy with their websites, some say it could use some work, and some absolutely hate it.
The “hatred” usually comes from people who chose the inevitable doom of the “Free DIY” tools, while others may be happy with their website, they admit to having no idea if their website is providing any benefit at all.
As a web developer, I know what a terrible website looks like… but for most people, it’s not always so easy. So instead, they simply chalk it up to “websites are unnecessary for business”… which clearly couldn’t be further from the truth.
So how can you tell, if your website is doing what it’s supposed to? Here’s a couple quick tips.
Overall Design and Compatibility
To see if your website’s design is up to par (or stuck in the past decade), try poking around at a bunch of other local websites. They don’t have to be competitors, they can belong to anybody. Remember, we’re simply trying to get an eye for the overall design. Does your website display properly on all screen resolutions? (large monitors, smaller monitors, tablets, etc). A poorly designed website is bound to fail, even if so many other elements are properly in place. The fact is, your website should be built for the visitor, and if it’s not… they’ll leave.
Search Engine Exposure
Go to Google, and try searching some keywords relevant to your business (i.e. fine dining windsor ontario). Is your website found on the first page? More importantly, in the top 5 results? Ranking at the top of search engines is a critical factor, in the success of your website. 77% of all clicks in a Google search, go to the top 3 organic results. If your website is nowhere to be found, you certainly have some work to do.
If you have access to your website’s traffic statistics, such as Google Analytics (which I certainly hope so!), log in, and take a look at where your traffic is coming from… (Example, in Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources –> Overview).
In an ideal situation, 50%-65% of your traffic should originate from search engines. Up to 20% should come from “direct traffic”, which means that the user manually entered your website into the address bar (ie. www.primarytargetmedia.com). And finally, the remaining 15-20% should come from “referral traffic”, which means the user clicked a link found on another website to arrive at yours (ie. Facebook).
This offers a solid distribution of traffic, for a website that doesn’t use custom campaigns, such as Pay Per Click advertising etc. If you use these types of advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc), you can probably expect approximately 10-15% of your traffic to come from these “campaign” sources.
Why is it so important to know where your traffic comes from? It’s simple… Your traffic sources paint a picture of your presence online. If you’re not getting enough traffic from search engines, you’re missing out on a large number of potential clients, as more than half of all “new customers” come from major search engines. If you’re not getting enough “referral traffic”, that simply means your brand isn’t receiving enough exposure throughout the internet, on “non-search engine” related websites.
Age of Website
If your website is more than 4 years old, it’s certainly time for a rebuild. With advancements in technology over the past few years, the face of both web design, as well as search engine optimization has changed, and ensuring your website is capitalizing, is crucial… and choosing the right developer (with experience), is obviously equally as important.
Knowing if your website is doing what it’s supposed to be, is no longer an option… If you fail to create an effective web presence in today’s economy, it truly is only a matter of time until you’re left behind.