Making your website a success

Successful websites are successful for important reasons not because of random events. A success of a website is not guaranteed with a particular technology, software, hardware, or any combination of these. It rather has everything to do with planning of the website. Successful people take the planning seriously to continuously improve their website for better results.

In this post we will discuss a number of techniques you can use to make your website a success. Before we go any further, let's be realistic about success. Before you know whether your website is a success or failure, you have to have to know what success looks like. You should define certain measurements defining success of your website. Is it that you consider increase in monthly visitors count a success or is it the amount of time they spend on a website?

Answers to these questions are important because all websites are different. For instance, an average time spent of 5 minutes on a website could still be bad than a website with the average time of 2 minutes. Why? Suppose the first website serves video content, with average video length of 15 minutes. If most people are leaving the website before the video finishes, the website must be failing to do something to retain the visitors long enough to finish the video and even longer. If you use any social networking website, think of the time you spend (or waste – depending on how you look at it) on the site. It must be greater than the average time for your business website. So what we are establishing here is that the average time for websites is different from a website to website. As such, you need to decide what average time for your website is a success and what is not.

Tip: use the past performance of your website to measure to future performance of your website. Remember to factor seasonal adjustments in your measurements. If you know for example, your website for your painting business receives a lot of traffic in summer, it would be unfair to compare the summer web statistics with winter months, and vice versa.

Here are some common website performance indicators that website owners/managers use:

  • Web inquires
  • Visitors count
  • Average time on the website
  • Number of downloads (of PDFs, videos, etc.)
  • Number of referrals from a particular search engine or ad campaign
  • Number of new registered users
  • Number of new email subscribers
  • Number of new comments
  • Web sales or donations

So how do you make sure that your website exceeds or maintains your present website performance indicators? We have three suggestions:

  1. Have your website maintained by competent people
  2. Regularly review your website performance
  3. Have regular updates

Have your website maintained by competent people

If you are a small business owner, you probably don't have the budget to hire someone full-time to maintain your website. Like other small business owners, you hire a web agency to maintain your website. Your online success depends on the agency you choose. So make sure your web agency can deliver beyond just visuals effects of the website. So tie your future web maintenance requests to the outcomes of the performance indicators relevant to your website.

So don't just say you want a new page on your website; instead indicate you want x number of more visitors to your website with the new page. However, be realistic in your performance goals. Your web agency representative should be able to determine whether or not your expectations are reasonable before any work is begun. If you both agree on the performance goals, you will have a better idea on your return on the investment.

Regularly review your website performance

As we indicated earlier, don't just expect your website to reach your performance goals at random. You have to keep an eye on your website. Review how your website is performing at least once a month. Look at the web statistics report. See what has changed from last month. Or you may prefer to determine how many web inquires you have this month. Whatever you want to measure for your website is entirely up to you. If you find the website is not doing well, you will need to talk with your web agency representative.

You may be surprised to read this but it is true: you and your web agency could be doing everything right but may all the sudden may fail to reach your performance goals. It usually starts with you have no emails on a typical day for your business. You wait a few days no emails. You don't see that as a concern and wait a week or longer. After a week or two has passed, then, you are convinced you want to figure what is going on. Long story short, if you are regularly paying attention to your performance goals, you would never wait for a week to look at the problem. You would look into the problem the same day you did not receive an email for your business.

So what can cause problems when everything is (was) going as normal? Here are some possible causes:

  • Your websever crashes. When this happens your website stops working until someone fully restores the website on a new computer.
  • Your website drops considerably in search rankings due to change in search engine's algorithms.
  • Due to a bad winter storm, your web hosting company looses power for an extended period of time

So the point is if you regularly monitor your website's performance, you can learn of the problems early and find solutions early as well.

Have regular updates

In addition to regular performance reviews, you should also aim for regular updates. Think of ways of improving your website. It could be simple as proof-reading the website content or writing a new page. Feel like you have everything on the website that your business needs? Ask your web agency to suggest you improvements for your website. If you feel they are worth the investment, try that. In our experience, we never feel a website is 100% improved or has everything it needs to have. There is always a room for improvements, even for small business websites. The trick is finding the problem areas before potential customers do.

Posted on 9/3/2011 3:25:16 PM