Reporting and analyzing the performance of any small business website is essential. Without it, you will not have valuable insights into how your website is performing.
Google Analytics is the most widely used reporting tool when it comes to websites. There are millions upon millions of websites that use the number of features in order to track the performance of their website.
If you are still not sure whether to use Google Analytics, have a look at the top 10 reasons below and how Google Analytics can benefit your website.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know below.
Find out what your small business website needs to be successful
Through ever-advancing technology, the digital age has done wonders for the invention and reinvention of revolutionary and fascinating ways to professionally showcase small businesses. This has made it possible for these businesses to compete with bigger companies. It has been proven that the most effective method of doing this is through a compelling small business website.
The best possible way to attain success as a small business owner is by having a well-designed, user-friendly website. A small business website is tremendously effective at attracting customers to your business. In the digital age in which we live, your business will come across as being outdated and unprofessional if you do not invest in a website. This could greatly affect whether or not a consumer chooses to conduct business with you.
In addition, a website provides the opportunity to reach more individuals, regardless of where you or your potential customers are located. Therefore, if you have been thinking about having a small business website designed, now is an excellent time for the breakthrough. It is definitely time to stop procrastinating and get it done. If you are still having doubts, we will go through some of the benefits of having a website as a small business in detail:
In the past, marketing through word-of-mouth, Yellow page ads and direct mailings was how businesses targeted their audiences. However, the way consumers look for products and services has changed over the years. These days, your social presence which includes your own website are key points customers consider when searching for a service or product, whether you are a small business or not.
Having a website is effectively setting up shop on the World Wide Web. This provides customers with a place to which they can go to find out more about your business. Have a blog where customers can read articles related to your business and the products or services you offer is an important of having a website as small business. A blog provides you an opportunity to give your customers something of value without it costing them anything.
By having a website with a blog it will allow your small business to become an authority among your competitors. If your business does not have a website, you will be at a huge disadvantage and essentially closing the door to countless opportunities to grow and network your small business.
When you have a small business with a website, your credibility soars above businesses that do not have an online presence. According to Web Presence Solutions, 65 percent of consumers view a company-branded email as being more credible in comparison to Gmail, AOL, Outlook, Yahoo mail or other generic email accounts.
To be credible and maintain relevance, it is essential to invest in a small business website. It must be understood that if your competitors all have websites and you do not have one for your business, they will end up looking more credible than you.
Outrank your competitors
With a website, you have the ability to outrank your competitors at the search engines.
If your small business website is search engine optimized (SEO), it will show up higher in the search engine results, which will result in more customers visiting your website.
With that being said, the higher you move up in the search engine results, the more chance you have of a customer visiting your website instead of your competitors which in turn can result in more sales.
Considering the number of different methods that can be used to promote a small business, among the least expensive is a website.
Furthermore, it can potentially reach more consumers than print, television, radio or other traditional advertising methods which makes a small business website a good return on investment.
Online advertising opens you up to free and paid options.
Free advertising comes in the form of posting on a variety of popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and many more.
Search engines such as Google and Bing can also be considered as free advertising; however, this only works if your website is search engine optimized as previously mentioned.
Compared to traditional advertising, paid online advertising can still be more affordable. In some cases, paid online advertising is even more effective as you would have more control over the target audience of your advertising campaign.
Facebook ads and AdWords are included among the paid advertising options available.
This is essentially a list of visitors who have an interest in your product/s or service/s and want to keep track of your business.
It is possible to collect email addresses from in-store customers and keep them up to date on the happenings of your business. However, having a website enables you to do this more efficiently as it makes the process faster and simpler.
Working in collaboration with your website, an email list can be one of your most powerful sales tools as a small business.
Enhanced opportunity for discovery
AdWeek mentions the following, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying.
These individuals are using search engines to find solutions to their problems and by doing research online. If your business does not have an online presence, there would be no way of them finding you even if you have the best possible solution to their problem.
If you thought this might only be applicable to business beyond your borders, consider the following statistic from BrightLocal provides the following:
Being aware of these numbers and understanding consumers’ online habits make it difficult to fathom why a large number of small businesses have no website.
Small business owners who have invested in a website have a distinct advantage where discovery is concerned.
With more than 3.5 billion Google searches taking place every day, having a website makes it possible for customers to find your business in a matter of seconds. This would put you in the running when they are making the decision as to who they should buy from.
Business websites enable customers to learn about your products and gain access to your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Market expansion and more customers
It is highly likely that you started your business serving your local community. If you have a brick and mortar business that you would like to take to the next level, a website can help you to do that.
In fact, expanding into a larger market is among the most lucrative benefits of having a small business website. Your business can experience exponential growth when the product or service you are offering is made available across time zones and even internationally.
Depending on the kind of business and what you have to offer, you will be able to reach more customers than those in your local community, just because you are a small business, doesn’t mean you have to think small.
Increased capacity to be relatable
The capacity to establish relationships and effectively relate to a defined audience is a game-changing advantage of having a small business website and maintaining it. Having the ability to use your website to tell stories about you and your business is a remarkable method of forging relationships.
Gaining in depth knowledge of your audience and the ways in which they benefit from using your product/s or service/s helps to tighten the bonds of the relationship. Attracting and retaining customers through visits to your website should be the ultimate goal, along with effectively relating to and successfully serving your customers.
It is more likely that customers will visit your website than make a call to find out more about your business. As such, it is important to reply to emails and comments on social media in a timely manner, this will help build trust and personalize their experience with your business.
Business sales tool
There are a number of purposes of a small business website; however, the primary objectives are:
As a powerful sales tool, your website will enable you to address any concerns your customers have in a timely manner. Additionally, it provides them with the information needed to make a decision due to its power to create captivating calls to action.
You could keep hoping that word-of-mouth advertising generates enough interest on its own or keep placing advertisements in the Yellow Pages. However, the best way to go is to create a website that inspires positive action.
Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is dead, but the more avenues you have to promote your business the better and the Internet is a powerful platform that you can use to your advantage to grow your business and increase sales.
Visitors can browse and find out relevant details regarding your business and more personally engage with you or other members of your staff. It is important to use your website to establish your brand as a small business and instil this brand with confidence.
The most effective methods of using a business website is by providing top-quality information. It is also important to learn about the wants and needs of your audience and establish a sales funnel that supports them throughout the sales process.
Automation of the sales process is one of the greatest benefits of a small business website. It also enables sales conversion at a much higher rate than conventional sales techniques.
The fact that your website is always available and has the capacity to reach more people means you will be able to exponentially increase sales as you are not limited by traditional business hours.
Creating print adverting is expensive, and can cost the same when they need to be updated, not to mention the typical waiting period for these to be ready. These days, consumers expect up-to-date information and new marketing campaigns on an ongoing basis.
A small business websites enables you to update any information whether it be pricing, business hours, demographics or services at any time and at no additional cost.
WordPress and other easy-to-use website platforms are user-friendly even from mobile devices; this enables making updates quick and easy. This level of flexibility will keep your audience informed and encourage strong relationships that keep customers coming back.
These are only a few of the benefits of having a website created for your small business. The days of consumers pulling out printed copies of the Yellow Pages to find your business are gone and show no signs of returning.
Creating a website for your small business is more than a nice thing to do, it is necessary for the expansion or even the survival of your business. Without an effective small business website, your business will be placed at a significant competitive disadvantage.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know below.
Find out what your small business website needs to be successful
SEO or Search Engine Optimized is a term that is thrown around a lot when talking about website design, but if you are not familiar with web design it can be really confusing.
If you understand the essentials of SEO you will be able to see the value it adds to your website.
In my previous post I briefly mentioned SEO and why you need it. Before you watch the video, lets do a quick recap.
Search engine optimization helps your website to be found at the search engines when a visitor searchs for something. But, that is only one part.
Depending on the SEO of your website, you can either be on the first page of the search results or the 10th page. If you are on the first 3 pages of the search results you have a higher chance of getting organic traffic, which is one of the most important goals of having a website.
But before I go into too much detail, you can watch the short video below to have a better understanding of SEO.
As a small business owner, you will need a website design that represents your business in the best possible manner to your visitors by using the latest web design technologies and standards.
Knowing what to look for can be difficult if you are not a web designer.
So what do you need to know?
When it comes to web design there are a lot of things to consider, but there are some important ones to take note of so that you can be sure you are choosing the right web design solution for your small business.
Let’s have a look at 6 important features you need to remember when getting a small business web design…
Website registration & hosting
Without website registration and hosting, you will not have a website. As this is a necessity in order to have a website, it is of utmost importance that it is done right otherwise you may encounter some of the following issues:
Website downtime which results in your website being unavailable to visitors.
In relation to the point above, if the support being offered does not have a quick turn around time, your website can be down for days, weeks even months.
To get started, you will need to decide what the name of your website will be, which is what will be registered as your website domain.
Before registering your website, research will need to be done in order to find out if the name you want is available.
You can do this in one of two ways.
A quick and easy way is to type the website domain in your browser, if you see a message that says something like, “This site can’t be reached”, the domain should be available for you to register.
Another way is using an online tool.
Most hosting companies have an option where you can do this. One of these hosting companies is Bluehost. (this is an affiliate link, if you purchase through it I will get a few bucks)
A word of warning…
Some of these tools can be monitored and if you don’t register the domain immediately, someone else may register the domain and offer it up for sale, which can be an extra expense.
When researching your website domain remember to try different variations, for example:
Not all websites end with .com. There are other options available such as .net and if you are an organisation there is also .org.
And then it comes to the hosting of your website
After choosing your website name, the next step would be setting up the hosting for your website.
Hosting is where your website will be saved on the world wide web so that visitors can visit your website.
Hosting companies usually offer different hosting packages, depending on what you need for your website. These packages can offer a combination or all of the following:
Number of websites
Amount of website space
Amount of traffic to your website which is known as bandwidth
Before choosing a hosting package, make sure you know what you need, for example:
If your your website will only have 5 to 10 pages, does not have a lot of media (such as images and video) and there are only 3 to 5 people working for the small business, the following hosting package from Bluehost will be more than suitable:
Website space: 50Gb
Sub domains: 25
Email accounts: 5
It is better to choose the right hosting package from the start in order to avoid running into problems later.
Do you know the difference between web design and web development? If not, you want to keep reading…
Understand the difference between design and development
Often the terms website design and website development are used to explain the same thing, but they are actually different and are used together to create a website.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these on their own…
Website design is the part of the website your visitors will see and interact with in, other words the look and feel of your website.
Website development is the technical part of a website that ensures, for example, when a visitor fills out a form their details are sent to you via email.
Some of the more common development features are:
If you would like visitors to sign up to a newsletter or contact you, you will need a form for each.
In order to sell products on your website you will need a shopping cart system. This involves proper website development as you will be dealing with payments, customer information, etc.
Will your website have a responsive design?
In case you are not familiar with responsive web design, let me explain…
Responsive web design is to design a website so that can be viewed on different screen sizes while still providing the user with an enjoyable user experience. In other words the content will change according to the screen it is being viewed on.
To use an example, a typical responsive website design will be designed for the following common screen sizes (more sizes can be added if need be):
1920 x 1080 pixels (Desktop computer)
1440 x 900 pixels (Laptop)
768 x 1024 pixels (Tablet portrait and inverse for landscape)
414 x 736 pixels (Large smartphone and inverse for landscape)
320 x 480 (Small smartphone and inverse for landscape)
If your website is not responsive, your visitor and possible customer will not enjoy their user experience and most likely search for another website that offers them a better experience.
With that being said…
Besides user experience, Google have recently started to show mobile-friendly search results as shown in the example below.
What does this really mean?
When someone uses Google search on their mobile device and your website is listed in the results, it will not have the mobile-friendly message, which means the person searching will most likely skip your link and go to another website that shows as mobile-friendly.
If your website is responsive, you are on your way to giving your visitor an enjoyable user experience, which can be the difference between making a sale or not.
But what else can you do to improve the experience for your visitor?
Make sure you pay attention to user experience
User experience (also known as UX) is all about how a visitor reacts when visiting your website.
Do they have an enjoyable experience when visiting your website or are they frustrated because they can’t find what they are looking for?
There is a lot involved with UX, but by paying attention to a few important things you can improve the user experience and have a higher possibility of your users staying longer on your website and enjoying their visit.
Lets take a look at some of them:
Have you been to a website that takes forever to load and you end up leaving?
It is frustrating, annoying and results in your visitors leaving your website before they have a chance to see what it is all about.
Thankfully, Google has a tool that you can use to measure the loading speed of your website and offers advice on how to improve it. Have a look and see how your website scores.
If your website is created using the WordPress content management system (CMS), there are a number of plugins you can use to speed up your website without having the technical knowledge.
For more information on how you can speed up your WordPress website, you can read the following Smashing Magazine article here.
Eye-catching call to actions
In case you are not familiar with call to actions, they are anything that requires a visitor to do something on your website.
One of the best examples of a call to action, is the Buy Now button. If you are selling a product or service, your Buy Now call to action needs to be eye-catching and appealing so that your visitor can quickly and easily find it.
Below are some examples of eye-catching call to actions.
Make hyperlinks clear
When you are adding hyperlinks to your website, more importantly within your copy, you need to make it easy for your visitor to see where they are.
Since the beginning of website design, hyperlinks have always been underlined with the use of a different color to the rest of the copy.
Over the years this has not changed much, so be careful to not use the same techniques with titles and subtitles as this can cause confusion and may be mistaken for hyperlinks.
An effective way of displaying important content is by using bullets. Instead of displaying the content as a paragraph, you can use a bullets.
This can make it easier for your visitor to read the content and has the possibility of attracting attention especially if your visitor is scanning through the content.
If you want to use bullets, you don’t always have to use the common layout; instead you can replace the regular round bullets with icons if the list isn’t too long.
Below we have the traditional list of bullets as well as a more creative list using icons.
Enhance content with images
One of the best ways to enhance content is by using images. When using images make sure they are relative to the content or they will be of no benefit.
Also only use images where necessary, using too many can devalue the content.
Consistency is key
When a visitor comes to your website, you want to make sure no matter what page they go to, it still feels like the same website.
One way of achieving consistency is creating a style guide for the website. So that if future changes are made they are in line with what is already there.
A style guide can include:
Colors: In order to make make sure the exact same colors are used, the RGB values of each color needs to included in the style guide.
Fonts: What fonts are used for titles, subtitles and copy as well as what size they need to be.
Tone: When writing content, what should the tone be? Happy, friendly but still professional or serious, corporate with no humour.
Don’t forget about 404s
I am sure you have experienced a 404 error page some or other time while searching for something on the web. A 404 error is when you try and visit a page that cannot be found.
Content is not only a way of keeping your visitors on your website longer, but is also related to the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your website.
There are some things you need to keep in mind when creating content for your website.
Don’t create just any content.
Brian Dean from Backlinko offers the following insights when it comes to written content for websites:
The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
Content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images.
The content on your website needs to be related to the theme of your website. There are various types of content you can add to your website, such as:
Infographics: According to Social Media Today, since 2010, infographics have steadily become more popular. There are a number of reasons why visitors prefer infographics to written blog posts, one of them is a lack of time. To read more about the benefits of using infographics click here.
Videos: After YouTube launched in 2005, videos quickly became a great way to talk to your visitors. Adding video content has some great benefits as shown by the stats shared on Hubspot:
51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best return on investment (ROI).
Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.
Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
Midway through 2015, mobile video plays exceeded 44% — up 74% from 2014 and up a whopping 844% since 2012.
Audio: Podcasts are another great way to add content to your website. Podcasts have become so popular that Apple decided to buy the app Swell in 2014 for $30 million as Douglas Karr mentions on Marketing Tech Blog. Not sure how to go about starting your own podcast, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has the perfect step by step tutorial to get you started which you can read here.
If writing is not your best talent, you can use content writing services such as The Content Authority, where there are high quality writers for hire which can make adding written content to your website simple and easy.
Lastly, always put original content on your website.
Which brings us to what SEO is and why it is important to the success of your website.
What is SEO and why does it matter?
SEO (search engine optimization) is all about how your website ranks at the search engines, the most popular being Google, Yahoo and Bing! which is where most of your website visitors or traffic will be coming from.
How do you determine if your website is SEO?
There are a number of things to take into consideration for SEO, but we are going to have a look at some of the key ones.
Website theme: A website needs to have the same theme throughout. If your business is about luxury vehicles, you should not have content about yachts.
Website content: Written content is the most important part of SEO, if it is related to your website theme and provides value to your visitors. As previously mentioned, the longer your visitors stay on your website the better; not only from a marketing perspective but SEO as well as it lets the search engines know that your visitors find what they are looking for and also affects your search engine ranking.
Backlinks: If the content on your website is popular with your visitors, they will be more likely to share it, which helps your website with backlinks. The more backlinks you get, the better.
Speed: Google analyzes how long your visitors stay on your website. If your website takes too long to load your visitors will, more than likely, hit the back button and look for another website where they can find what they are looking for quicker.
Responsive design: Recently Google added this as a requirement when showing search results. When searching on your smartphone, Google will let you know whether a website is mobile friendly. So if your website is not mobile friendly it will affect the user experience for your visitors and your website might be skipped in the search results.
As you can see, if your website is not SEO, there will be no organic traffic which in turn means…
No traffic, no sales.
But besides traffic, how else can you measure the performance of your website?
Measuring performance with reporting
If you are making sales, you are on the right track but by using reporting you can improve sales by gaining more insights about your website.
There are a number of tools that make website reporting easy and simple.
One of the most popular tools is Google Analytics. As a business you will know who your perfect customer is. But are those the visitors going to your website?
Without Google Analytics, to find this out can be a time consuming and difficult task. With Google Analytics you are able to find out the following important statistics about your website:
Sessions: How many times your website has been visited, in other words how many visitors your website has had over a selected time period.
Page views: How many pages were viewed during the sessions on your website. This includes pages that are re-visited.
Average pages per session: When a visitor visits your website, how many pages on average do they visit?
Average duration of sessions: What is the average duration of a visit on your website?
Bounce rate: How quickly do your visitors leave your website?
Entry/exit pages: Which pages do your visitors first land on when coming to your website and from which pages do they leave from?
Popular pages: What are the most visited pages on your website?
Along with the statistics above you can also see where your visitors are coming from, what systems they are using, and much more.
With the results from Google Analytics you can quickly see how your website is performing and it will also tell you what type of user experience your visitors are having and on which pages you should pay attention to.
For example, if the bounce rate on your website is high, visitors are not staying on your website very long which could be due to:
Content not being of value
They cannot find what they are looking for and decide to leave and find another website
As you can see, there is a lot more involved than just having a website for your small business that looks appealing, before choosing a website design solution make sure all the features discussed are considered so that you can get the best value for your money.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know below.
Find out what your small business website needs to be successful