With more than 2 billion people surfing the internet, and more than $1.25 trillion rung up in on-line sales annually, your corporate website can be one of your most valuable assets. But how do you harness its true power to increase sales, move up in search and keep customers coming back?
I could fill a library (or 1000 hard drives) with recommendations on how to do this. Internet marketing is an extremely complex proposition. But whether you manage your own site, or enlist an on-line specialist for the task, here are the basic principles you should follow to make some pretty substantial gains.
1. Closely Measure and Monitor Current User Behavior
The first step to improving your website's performance is to closely measure and monitor how it performs in the first place. Too many small businesses create and market a website without paying close attention - on a regular basis -- to visitor metrics. Tracking user behavior is critical because then you can identify what you need to improve, and adjust accordingly.
• What kind of traffic are you getting? Where is it coming from?
• What is your conversion rate? How many visitors go no further than your home page?
• How much time are they spending on your site and where do they go after they leave?
If you owned a retail business, you would know exactly what you have on the shelf and how many people came in and what they bought. You would also know how many left empty handed.
When you monitor the behavior of your visitors to your website, you provide yourself with a huge opportunity to improve your business. For example, if 70% of those visiting never get past the home page, then you need to make some serious improvements to your homepage. If you lose people while they are buying a product, better check on the functionality of your check-out page.
The good news is this information is readily available and free with services like Google Analytics. With this tool, you can drill down into every page of your website, study individual page performance - and make improvements based on what you discover.
Set aside at least two times a month to "check under the hood" and make some repairs and enhancements.