24 12, 2008

What Has Your Website Done For You Lately?

By | 2017-02-23T17:39:47+00:00 December 24th, 2008|Categories: Web Development|Tags: |

No matter what kind of website you have, there may come a time when you ask yourself “Is my website giving my company any value?” This value doesn’t always have to be money, for instance a contact page can generates great value. Assigning value to leads can be difficult to estimate and track, but this process needs to be done to accurately portray the entire economic benefit of your site. Three basic steps should be taken to make sure you’re on the correct path to answering the question about perceived value.

The first step to tracking value on your site is by using a tracking software. Funnel Google Analytics is a great program which gives detail statistics in an easy to understand layout. Plus, it’s free and who doesn’t like free? Once tracking software is added, people think they don’t have to do anything else, which is far from the true. People will “oh and ah” over the cool functionality of the program and think they are tracking the value of the website. Data on visitor’s location, time spent on site and browser version—doesn’t give any value if you’re not tracking what I like to call your “call to action” steps or button. Your “call to action” is the click, or clicks you want your visitors to hit, which will meet your website’s goal and value.

This brings me to the second step which is to set up goals and/or “Call to Actions.”

Google Analytics gives the option to set up four different goals. Here’s a short list of examples of typical goals:

  • Dealer Locator Page
  • Contact Page
  • Email Subscription
  • E-Commerce
  • Tracking Order of Page Visits

After reading the second bullet point, you may be asking, “Why do I need to set up a goal for a contact page?” I already have the contact emails which I can count to track the process. Although, did they come from paid search, or a referral site? You could always ask every single customer who emails you, “How did you find my site and what pages did you visit?” In this case and many others, you will be missing a large amount of data. Plus, there’s no reason to waste your breath or fingers on something that can be automated.

The third step is to sit back and wait for the data.

GoalsIt’s just about impossible to make marketing decisions without a goal-oriented website. I know firsthand, because I’ve dealt with many sites, some were even e-Commerce sites, that didn’t have any goals setup. The data was there but it was not being used to it’s fullest extent.

Don’t let your website be caught without goals! If you have any questions about what your website goals should be, ask one of us here at Beacon by posting a comment.

10 12, 2008

Website Analysis

By | 2017-02-21T12:05:36+00:00 December 10th, 2008|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

“We need to redesign the website”–  Now what???

Many marketing and IT departments are faced with the sometimes daunting task of taking on a wholesale redesign of a website, without much guidance as to where to start.  Before the more glamorous tasks of selecting colors and graphics begins, it is a good idea to take a step back and carefully analyze the purpose of the site and its audience.  This analysis phase pays deep dividends later because, in many cases, consensus and allegiance among a company’s disparate departments can be achieved, even before one line of code is written.

Here are some questions that we often use as part of our Needs Assessment projects in order to guide our clients in their redesign plans:

Audience

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the goals of your target audience?
  • How can we help them achieve their goals through this website?
  • Make a list of competitors websites and determine their degree of success in achieving their goals

Design

  • What kind of design and graphical presence are you looking for?
  • Are there company-wide graphical and/or marketing standards that must be considered in the new design?
  • Make a list of websites inside and outside of your industry that have appealing designs and note specifically what attracted you to them

Functionality

  • What works well on the current site?
  • What could be improved on the current site?
  • What kind of feedback do you get from current site visitors?
  • Make a list of websites inside and outside of your industry that have particularly good functionality and/or navigation and note specifically what attracted you to them

Administration and Maintenance

  • Who will create the content on the new website and how will the site be maintained?
  • Who will host the new site?  Are outside vendors or consultants required for the site hardware setup?
  • Who are the stakeholders and decision makers in the process?

If carefully considered, these may lead to other, more complex, questions.  A carefully prepared analysis phase is the first step towards a well designed website and will help to avoid “surprises” later in the process.  Then you’ll be ready to take the next step—Development!