Up and down the country the Christmas lights are getting switched on as we head into that most festive part of the year.
From a business perspective, it’s important not to get lulled into a false sense of security –focusing too much on the holidays without planning the right actions to set you up for a successful year ahead.
We’ve already covered how you can make time for this future planning, but what should you be doing? What are the steps you need to take? In this post we’ll be focusing on website owners and the elements you should be reviewing to make sure your website is as effective as it could be.
Check the stats
Although data isn’t everything, and should not be looked at in isolation, checking your stats to see how visitors have used your site over the last year is an important exercise.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the main action I expect my visitors to take when visiting my website, and is this clear?
The more that users know exactly what to do –by having a strong call to action– the more likely they will be to do it, putting you in a better position to convert visitors into customers.
The action will vary from business to business but could be anything, like:
- buy a product or service
- sign up to a newsletter
- download a white paper
- view a video
- make an enquiry via email or phone
This does not mean it will be the ONLY action you expect visitors to take, but the most important one. The clearer it is, the more likely you are to increase conversions.
2. How many people are completing this main action?
If you already know what your main call to action is, have a look at how many people are converting. If this is low, you will need to find out why. It could be that:
- your call to action isn’t as clear as you thought
- you’re not getting the right target audience visiting your site
- there’s an error in the site prohibiting completion of the action
More investigation will be needed to rectify any of those problems, but knowing the conversion rate will help start the process.
3. What is my most popular blog post/content, and is there a theme?
This can show you the kind of content that your visitors want. It can also indicate what you need to do if, like us, you are actively changing your target audience.
One of our most historically popular blog posts is an educational post about creating an ecard for Christmas. This was written back in 2010 when fellow web designers and those new to web design formed part of the audience we were attracting.
It was a much more technical audience then, in contrast to today where our focus is much more on small business owners, independent workers, founders and MDs of SMEs.
Looking at the data for our most popular posts tells us we have a long way to go to achieve that desired change of audience and get our new focus filtering through. Producing more regular posts, which are written for our target audience today, will help that.
You may spot a theme among your most popular posts and this can lead to ideas for several new posts, building on the topics of the existing ones. Make sure that you are re-posting them to social media and promoting them in your newsletters to increase readership even more.
It’s also worth thinking about a call to action at the bottom of the post. Is there something related to the content of the post that you can promote? A small box with a clear call to action can help direct visitors onto the path of becoming customers.
4. What key content hasn’t had many visits and why?
That important post –containing so many gems to help your audience– has few views. Sometimes we miss what is truly of interest to our readers, yet sometimes it is due to our execution; it’s not always easy to find the exact reason, but possibilities may include:
- the time it was posted
- the frequency it was posted on social media channels
- it was too crowded a subject to be picked up by SEO
- the headline wasn’t strong enough
One thing you can do is re-visit it several months later and update it for your audience. Of course you then re-post it on your social media channels too.
Prepare for the New Year
All of these questions are geared towards having clarity on your website goals and monitoring your progress towards achieving them.
The end of the year is a great time to evaluate your website’s effectiveness, so that you can prepare for the New Year. Make sure your website is still helping you to meet your goals and that visitors have an easy path to follow, to convert into customers.