So far we’ve discussed targeting the right traffic on your website, creating content, how to get the users’ attention, and how to convert those users into sales. In the final article of this series on increasing revenue through your website, I’m going to talk about tracking these efforts and how looking at these metrics will help you to continually optimize your campaigns and improve performance.
Just as you track key metrics of your business such as sales, vehicles dismantled per day, warranty sales, returns, and so on, so it’s equally as important to track metrics to measure the performance of your website. Knowing these numbers will help you create benchmarks and determine what works and what doesn’t.
What Should You Be Tracking?
This answer will differ slightly depending on what types of campaigns you’re running, and what the goals of those campaigns and your overall strategy are. Generally we track high-level metrics, such as unique visitors, pages per visit, and bounce rate, on a month over month measurement. These are easy metrics that show whether you are attracting visitors and whether your content is engaging to them. However, there are other metrics that are important to understanding how effective your campaigns are.
For example, You should be tracking which keywords are being used to find your website. Knowing which keywords and phrases visitors used to find you will help you to understand how well your keyword targeted content is working. For example, if you’re seeing an upward trend month over month for the keyword phrase “used Ford parts” and you’ve been concentrating on creating content for that key phrase, you can conclude that your content creation effort in that area is working. Since you know it’s working, you can use the same tactics to get traffic for other key phrases relevant to the parts you sell.
You can also track where your visitors are. If you’ve been trying to expand the traffic within your customer radius, you’ll want to understand if those numbers are increasing or decreasing. You might also track whether your organic traffic is increasing or decreasing. Organic traffic is traffic that comes to your website via natural, or, unpaid searches. If you’re concentrating on search engine optimization, increased organic traffic is exactly what you’re looking for. That is the return on your investment.
Additionally, it is important to track conversion rates. Previously we’ve discussed converting users by getting them to fill out a contact form, subscribe to your newsletter, make a purchase, and so on. But how do you know what percentage of potential conversions are actually converting? Or how many users are abandoning the process? Setting up conversion tracking on all contact forms, subscription forms, and other multi-step processes is vital to understanding how much traffic is converting and, ultimately, converting to sales.
Split Testing Your Campaigns
You may or may not have heard of A/B testing or split testing before, but this is another important kind of test you can use with your campaigns. Split testing is the process of creating multiple landing pages which have the same purpose. For example, you may have set up a landing page for used Ford engines. On this page, your conversion goal is getting the visitor who lands on this page to dial a phone number you’ve setup for tracking the effectiveness of this campaign. In a split test, you set up an additional landing page for this campaign; however, this additional landing page emphasizes a different call to actions, might have a slightly different layout, might have fewer items on it, different colors, etc. The idea is to test different versions of the same page to see which one is the best at getting visitors to call the number or take the conversion action for the page.
What Should You Do With This Information?
We’ve talked about what metrics you should track and split testing different landing pages to increase your conversion rates. Let’s talk a little about what actions should you take when looking at these reports each month.
The monthly reports on your website’ performance will tell you what’s working and what’s not. Knowing helps you make the most profitable use of your time by focusing resources on the strategies that are working the best. You might also uncover things you hadn’t thought about before, such as a set of keywords or phrases that are bringing in lots of traffic. If you’re paying a firm to manage your SEO or pay per click campaigns, you will want to know what kind of return you’re getting on your investment. The monthly web reports should tell which efforts are profitable and which are not.
You can use Google Analytics to track all of these metrics. Google Analytics is free and easy to install on your website. It can deliver monthly reports to your inbox so you can have the numbers on your desk on the first of each month. I also recommend reading a book about Google Analytics to learn how to get the most out of it.
Let me help you get started by giving you an SEO scorecard on your existing website and some free advice about how to improve your results. E-mail me your website address with “SEO scorecard” in the e-mail’s subject line, and I will be glad to show you some ways you can do better.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, founder of Mr. Mission Possible small business consulting, combines over 35 years of entrepreneurship with an extensive resume in consulting, speaking, and business writing, with 6 books published. My associate, Josh Davis, collaborated for this article. Josh helps budding entrepreneurs and those wanting to build a business using the web; you can find more about him at www.madeinfortworth.com.
A business owner since age 17, Ron sold his chain of salvage yards to Ford Motor Company in 1999, and his innovations in database-driven direct marketing have been profiled in Inc. Magazine. After the repurchase of Greenleaf Auto Recyclers from Ford and sale to Schnitzer Industries, Ron is now owner of the DFW Elite Auto suite of businesses and a successful real estate investor.
As a consultant and peer benchmarking leader, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plain-spoken style, providing field-proven, high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve.
Ron is a web expert, but he is also an expert in helping all types of small businesses become more successful and more profitable. He has helped owners in industries from restaurants to law firms with a wide variety of business issues, including sales, promotion, production, financial measures, business strategy, and planning for startups. Whatever your unique challenges, Ron can help you.
To inquire about peer benchmarking, consultations, or keynote speaking, contact Ron by calling 817-834-3625, by emailing rons@MrMissionPossible.com, by mailing 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or online at Mr. Mission Possible.