Does Your Website Pass the Test?
In two of our recent posts, we emphasized the importance of putting your customers first when you think about your website, including the key pieces of information you need to provide, and the importance of designing your site with your target audience in mind. But how do you know if you’re successful? Here are three ways you can test your web design, to make sure that your site is generating the business results that your company needs.
Analyze your stats
Before you can take your website to the next level, you need to know where you’re starting. Do you know who’s visiting your website, and where they come from? By looking at your analytics, you can discover what your visitors gravitate to after they arrive, how long they spend on each page, and more importantly, when they left.
Do your visitors surf through your site, but jump ship at the “contact us” form? Or do they land on an information-rich page and leave right away, perhaps overwhelmed with the amount of information in front of them? By analyzing your current data, you can make informed decisions about which sections of your website might need the most attention, which can also help you avoid making assumptions that don’t hold true. As well, it can generate insights into where your web traffic is coming from — for example, if they’re following a link from Twitter or LinkedIn — which can help your marketing team.
Take a Look Around
Once you have a grasp of your current visitors’ habits, you can work with your design team to make changes. But before you jump in, have a quick look at what your competition is doing. After all, if potential customers are exploring your site, chances are, they’re looking at your competitors too. Once again, considering this from your customers’ perspective, think about the elements you might want to improve on. Now, drawing from the data you collected, you can design your site with your customer’s mindset front and centre.
In the longer-term, you can use the same metrics that you analyzed before to see if you’re making progress in the right areas. But you don’t have to wait that long to get feedback on whether your changes will have the impact you’re looking for. You can do A/B testing to measure how visitors react to different versions of your website: A (the original) and B (your proposed updates). This type of testing is especially useful for assessing new features, such a web-based sign-up form, or different colour schemes.
For some companies, the worst thing that can happen is that their website is successful. Once customers start coming in, they think that their work is done. In business though, trends and technologies change, your products and services evolve, and your customers might shift over time.
Your website should be part of a long-term continuous improvement plan. Once or twice a year, take a few minutes to review your customer profiles, your content, and your website in general. Each time, ask the question: What can we do to better respond to our customers’ needs today?