In order to properly answer this question you first need to ask another...
What do I want my website to do?
The purpose of your website will be different for different businesses. It may be that your website focusses on straightforward product sales or bookings. Perhaps you have a site to provide company and contact information or product information. Maybe your website is purely for entertainment or you want people to subscribe? The first step to evaluating the success of your website is having a clear idea of what its purpose is.
For some, that purpose will be obvious - online product sales for instance is a pretty simple one. For others, the purpose(s) may be more diverse and therefore less simple to identify in terms of a single objective.
Although this may seem like an obvious point, clarity of purpose is often one of the biggest issues which is limiting a website's success.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want your website to do, or more particularly, what you want people to do on your website, you can start to optimise your site for that purpose.
What is the main way users can achieve that on your website?
Successful websites make their purpose clear and enable users to achieve that purpose simply and intuitively. It can help to picture the perfect website visit - think about someone finding your website on Google and visiting for the first time. They arrive on your landing page and do...what? This 'what' is your call-to-action. So, what do you want that action to be?
Calls-to-action (CTAs) could be email sign-up boxes, a download of an article, guide or whitepaper, using a special offer, purchasing a product or getting in contact to make an appointment or request further information. Armed with clarity of purpose it is easier to think about your website in terms of how visitors can achieve this. It may be that there is more than one step or CTA required for a new visitor to your site to ultimately complete the action you want them to. This is where you have to think about the journey they will take and what content on your website is required to support this.
The content on your website is all important and should always be there with a view to persuading and enabling visitors to take action. For product sales, this may be detailed product information or product reviews from previous customers. For service based businesses like estate agents or accountants, this content may be aimed more at providing the information which will help a potential buyer to make up their mind that you are the right choice for them. Content of this kind could be in the form of page content, blog posts or information downloads and can be used as a way of demonstrating your industry knowledge as well as showing potential customers that you understand their needs.
Creating a strategy
Thinking about your website in this way - with the user firmly in mind, is the start of creating a content strategy which will help you to make sure that your website is earning it's keep and delivering the results you want.
Of course, in order for the above to be possible, you have to be able to get people on to your site in the first place and that requires a different kind of optimisation which we have written about previously in our blog - see How do you write SEO friendly web copy and Business Blogging - an essential component of any inbound strategy.
Doing nothing at all with a website, whilst expecting it to magically provide sales, clients and subscribers is not a realistic expectation. Your website needs to be nurtured, regularly re-evaluated and updated in order to continue to deliver for you.
Key action points
- Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your website to do
- Make sure you have a clear idea of how your users can achieve that simply
- Consider your users journey
- Provide appropriate Call-to-Action opportunities
- Use content to provide information
- Keep at it!
If you feel like you need some help with an existing website - get in touch with us for a free website evaluation and recommendations or download our free guide - Ten Top Tips For Digital Marketing Success