How do you know if your website is working? Before you can answer that question you will need decide how to measure whether your site is working or not. If you have an online store you will measure your website’s success differently than someone who owns a non-profit informational site or a website for a doctor’s office. Generally speaking, the success of your site might be determined by whether or not people visit your website, whether or not people buy what you are selling, or whether or not people get the information they were searching for when they came to your site.
Do not waste your time with site counters; you are the only one who wants to know how many people visit your site, and possibly your relatives who are rooting for you. When was the last time you looked at the site counter on another website and said, “Wow! 45,333,227,389 people have visited this site, it must be cool!”
Instead, get a free account with Google Analytics and Google will give you tracking code to put on your site. Put it where Google recommends and you are well on your way to getting some great information about your website’s traffic. You will need to be able to access your website files for this, because you have to put it in the code near the bottom of the page.
Your Google Analytics report will give you information about who is visiting your site, how long they stay there, what pages they visit, where in the world they are surfing the internet and much, much more.
Another way to find out who calls or emails you from your website (other than asking) is to have a special email address or phone number that is only listed on your website. Depending on the volume of visits you expect, a new phone number may not be worth your time or money, but an email address especially for your website is simple, quick, and cheap.
Getting People to Your Site
So, now you know how to find out about your website’s traffic, but how do you get people to visit your site? Unfortunately, your website will not magically attract visitors. Fortunately, there are many ways potential visitors can find your website address:
- Printed on your business card, brochure, or other marketing material
- In the signature of your emails
- In a Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other web search
- An ad in a Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search (Google Adwords)
- An ad you placed on another website
- An article in a magazine or other print resource written about you or your business
- From a friend
Once you get people to your site, I am sure you will agree that it is a pretty good idea to keep them there. If you don’t engage them immediately they will be gone in about one mouse click. Maybe 2. Is your logo or name in the upper left hand corner? Can people quickly and easily navigate to other pages on your site? Is your company’s message visually clear? Is your product line prominently featured? Is your contact info, name, phone, address clearly shown? Do you avoid excessive use of flash, sound, or video? Do you give your visitors something to do? Something to think about? Something to act on?
If you do not give your visitors what they want within the first few seconds you will lose them and they will go to your competitors.
Things to Think About
Now you know how to measure your website’s success, how to get people to your site, and how to engage them once they are there. If you are in the beginning stages of a website project you can keep these things in mind as you proceed. If you have an existing website, do not despair; think about refreshing your website’s look and structure or starting fresh. As you go forward think about what you want people to come away from your website with, what impression you want to give people. Your visitors will thank you!