In today's connected world, an online presence is necessary for businesses and not just an option anymore. According to studies about consumer behavior and the customer purchase journey, more than 60% of consumers worldwide tend to search for new products online because of convenience and accessibility. This means your website matters!
While this does not negate the continued relevance of physical stores, it highlights the need for companies to establish an excellent online presence in the same way they pay attention to their offline locations. Since customers are now discovering brands through the internet, there is a high chance that the first exposure of your company to potential customers would be through your website.
Some may argue that a website is unnecessary when creating an online presence due to the availability of social media pages which would cost much less to build and maintain. However, this fails to consider that shared platforms like these social media sites have certain restrictions that could limit your brand presence and affect your equity.
Compared to these shared platforms, a brand or company website can be customized according to your objectives and brand image. In effect, it can improve the company’s credibility, increase customer engagement, help educate customers about your brand, and even aid customer service.
“Custom web solutions mean you get the site you want. The right look, branding, and, most importantly, functions that make the site truly yours,” says Brian Rideout of BANG! Web Site Design, a web design company, based in Arizona. A great website can create more traffic and generate more leads for your business compared to generic or shared sites. According to research, product images on a brand website can lead to product discovery for more than thirty percent of consumers.
A website's success depends on many factors, and it is not as simple as just putting it up on the internet for everyone to see. There needs to be a good website design that is simple, responsive, and easy on the eye. Use experience is also essential, as nobody will stay long on a site that keeps leading them to a dead end or broken links or is filled with pages that take too long to load.
To prepare your website for success, you must start with a clear goal. List down the business goals and specific targets for the brand, and then set a product strategy that would define what the website needs to have and what it should do to achieve the project's objectives.
You should also have a defined target audience with a specific profile which includes their needs and wants, browsing habits, and purchase behavior. Then plan your website according to these factors and strive to establish a good impression with your audience through a visually appealing design and engaging content.
After all that hard work and the corresponding investment in building your brand website, the last thing you want to happen is for it to fail in helping the company grow. This is why there should be a follow-up assessment to check whether the objectives set at the beginning were achieved.
As with anything that needs to be measured, you first need to define the right metrics which help you assess if the website design is working. Here are the top factors that you need to check when measuring your website’s performance:
Acquisition looks at your website traffic and checks the number of gross visits to the site and where they came from. This is usually grouped into broad categories like direct, organic search, referral, and social, which allow you to identify and segment your traffic source as well as the behavior patterns of each source. It also reviews the entry points, which are the top pages that people first landed on when they visited the site and lets you know which content generates the most traffic.
Engagement analyzes the average time spent on the site, the total number of pages visited per session, and the bounce rate, which refers to the number of users who exited after seeing one page. These data can indicate whether or not the website was helpful to the visitors. Generally, the longer time spent or more pages visited, the more engaged they are, except for factors like long loading time per page or confusion in navigation, which will increase usage duration or the pages visited but will result in a negative user experience.
Retention measures the number of people who have repeatedly visited your site within a given time frame and distinguishes them from first-time visitors. Both data are valuable as the former will show if you are keeping your audience engaged with your site, while the latter tells you if your user base is growing.
On the other hand, conversion measures the actions taken by your website visitors during their session, which can be a direct purchase or a follow-up activity like subscribing to a newsletter. This can help gauge if you are attracting the right audience to the site.
While the previous metrics focus on quantity, user experience highlights the quality of the audience’s interaction with the brand. There are different ways of assessing this, but it is a good idea to evaluate the visitors' satisfaction and the site's ease of use and net promoter score. It can also include behavior metrics like the efficiency or effectiveness of task-related activities on the site and the level of adoption of the product or service featured on the website.