As temperatures rise and many people trade in their desk chairs for deck chairs, you may see your website traffic decline. That makes summer the perfect time for measuring website effectiveness. If you discover that your site is underperforming, you'll have time to make some changes before things pick back up.

The first step is revisiting your online goals. If you have a written document outlining your website goals, review it carefully before you start measuring website effectiveness. If you don't have goals in writing, now is a good time to create them.

Summer school - website

What do you want your website to do — drive traffic, generate leads, reduce costs, attract new talent? Once you fully understand your website's goals, you'll be in a better position to know what success might look like. For some perspective, here are five metrics to think about.

1. Sales Revenue

If your website is set up for sales, how much money does your site take in, and how does this compare to your total sales revenue? Are your online revenues growing? Is the average amount spent per online purchase growing? What products are selling especially well online? Keep a close eye on your online revenues and online profit margins, as they are often key drivers of business success.

2. Checkout and Payment System Interaction

If you're running an e-commerce site and a significant number of visitors are "bouncing" from their buy baskets, your checkout process could be too time-consuming or complicated. Summer is a great time to test out new options and think about what you can do to streamline the process.

3. Unique Visitors

This is an important metric, but you'll want to ensure that your website is converting "traffic" (page views) into customers. Metrics like "returning visitors" and "time spent on-site" can tell you a lot about the stickiness of your website. If your site isn't as sticky as you want it to be (if visitors aren't spending as much time with your content or engaging with your site in the way you'd like them to), think about how you can improve the quality of the experience. How can you offer more engaging content? Measure how many visitors become buyers and look at what web content is helping to drive those conversions.

4. Traffic Sources

What sites are your visitors coming from? Depending on where folks are bouncing in from, you may want to change up your keyword, social media or ad strategy.

5. Most Popular Pages

You'll want to know which pages your visitors access most and spend time on, and understand why. In general, give visitors more of what they like, and they'll keep coming back.

Key Website Additions to Consider

  • Blog
    Sharing insights about your business, products or industry trends can engage and convert customers.
  • Social Sharing Buttons
    If visitors like your online content, enable them to share it over social media. It's easy to add sharing buttons.
  • E-Newsletter or RSS Feed
    Visitors don't usually know when you've posted new content. With an e-newsletter, you can let them know about updates and bring them back to your site. With an RSS feed, subscribed readers will be able to get updates from your site automatically.
  • New Pages
    What about putting written or video testimonials from your most satisfied customers on your website? How about offering biographies of your key team members with photos? Look at what your competitors are doing to see how you measure up; you want to make sure you keep up with trends that help you stay on top.

Summer's here, but the living shouldn't be completely easy. While spending some time on measuring website effectiveness isn't quite a day at the beach, it can offer a great return on your investment. What story is your website telling your customers? Make sure it's one they want to hear.

Check out our Small Business Summer School post next Wednesday when we'll share creative tips to help you take your customer service skills to the next level. See you then!

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