Marketing

Web Tracking – A Real World Example

By April 30, 2007 No Comments

Last week we finished overhauling our website, www.webascender.com, with a new design and updated content. Our motivation for this began after we looked over our web analytics (website statistics) and realized that many of our visitors were not getting what they wanted out of our website. If our visitors aren’t finding the information they need quickly enough, then most likely we’re going to lose them as a potential sale. Web Tracking is a very important component of any website. It allows you to monitor visitor behavior and identify important trends that help you fine-tune your website for maximum effect.

Web Tracking
Web Tracking is a Web Ascender service offering that is not as well known as “Websites” or “Web Marketing”, but it is a vital component to any successful website.  Web Tracking is the process of using website statistics and analysis tools to determine who is visiting your website, how they got there, and what they do once they arrive.  Guess what?  People were not doing what we wanted them to on our website (contact us for a quote!) so we are making the necessary changes to remedy that.  It may seem odd, but almost 95% of the websites out there do not track their effectiveness, and even less then that analyze their data and make changes based on that analysis.  However, since reading statistical data is actually pretty easy when using our Content Management tool (SiteCTO), it only makes sense to review it every quarter and make the necessary adjustments.  Normally, updating and refocusing your website content in sufficient, but in our case we wanted to provide a new “feeling” for our visitors so we changed our design as well.
Let’s review what our website used to focus on:

Who were we aiming at?

    • Visitors who found our website through a search engine, and were interested in signing up for our SiteCTO content management product.
    •  Visitors who heard about our company and wanted to build their own website immediately.
    • Small businesses who wanted affordable websites, and were willing to do a lot of the work themselves to save on the overall cost

What were our goals?

    • Have users sign-up online and start building their website
    • Have users purchase Internet marketing packages to advertise their websites
    • Sell additional marketing and analytic services to help the further development of their website

Was our old plan working?

After analyzing our last 3 months of traffic, including our sources of new business over the last quarter, we discovered:

    • Less than 5% of our current sales were initiated from our website
    • Even tech-savvy customers still wanted us to create the website for them.  However, they loved the content management tools they could use to maintain their website after it was launched.
    • 80% of our current revenue is from larger businesses (75+ employees), not smaller businesses (0-50)

 We also found:

    • 50% bounce rate on the homepage.  That means half the people that visit our website never went past the homepage
    • 20% of visitors who do click on something on our homepage click on “Websites”
    • 2%-3% click on “Web Marketing”
    • 2%-3% click on “Web Tracking”
    • Our “About” page is the second most popular page on our website

Based on this information we decided to make some changes.  Our previous top-level navigation looked like this:

Home | Web Sites | Web Marketing | Web Tracking | About | Blog

before

The analysis tools we use allow us to determine the exact sequence of clicks each visitor takes through our website.  We can also see how long visitors spent on each page and the popularity of each page (the pages most people click on).   In addition to the information gathered from our site analysis, we also realized that even our small business clients were asking for more elaborate websites than we originally anticipated.  This led us to adjust our content to reflect more of the high-end web development work we have been doing recently.

Here is our new navigation

Home | About | Products | Portfolio | Industries | Services | Case Studies | Blog | Contact

after
Our goal is to generate enough curiosity on our homepage for users to take another step into our site.  We know that 50% of the visitors who were visiting our old site left because we had too much content on the page (information overload), or we didn’t give them a good enough reason to stay and probe around the website.  Once a user gets a few clicks into your website, they become more comfortable and are more likely to explore in detail, which is exactly what we’re trying to achieve.
On our homepage, we decided to provide a little information about our company and included some small “service teasers”.  The teaser information should be enough text for a visitor to get an understanding of what the service is, but it should entice them to click on another page in our website to get the full details (such as the “Services” page).

We decided to increase the visibility of our client testimonials by placing a link to them on our homepage; previously it was deep in our site and hard to find.  Video testimonials are a tremendous asset and we wanted to make sure our visitors could find them easily and quickly.

Moving the blog to the homepage should also provide enough of a teaser to get users clicking around.  Our blog is focused primarily on technical subjects, but we try to make it easy enough for anyone to read.  Our goal is to educate our audience while helping them to understand our company a bit more.  Thus far it is one of our most popular areas.

We made the choice to consolidate our main services (Web Design, Web Tracking and Web Marketing) into a single top-level page, “Services”.  We have started to expand our services a bit more and this also gives us an opportunity to show more offerings when needed.

The portfolio area was added to the top level navigation because most visitors want to look at a company’s work product.  Most people would rather see examples or pictures of what you have done rather than reading about it.  Since our portfolio was our second most popular “next step” from the homepage, we decided to promote it to the top-level site menu, instead of leaving it buried under the old “Web Sites” page.

We also added two new sections, “Industries” and “Case Studies”.  We will be keeping a close eye on how well these areas perform.  The good thing is we have the tools to measure their popularity and how well they are being received by our audience.  If they do not invoke enough curiosity or interest then we can consider replacing them with other features down the road.

One of the most significant changes from our website has been the removal of the ‘sign-up’ button.  In the past we allowed visitors to sign up and purchase their website immediately.  The user would be assigned a web address and they could begin working on their website right away.  Due to the popularity of that feature we have replaced it with “Request a Quote” – which is still an action item – but hopefully less intrusive and more active than signup was.  The action of requesting a quote is also more in line with our assessment of our current clients and customer base.

Website tracking and statistics is a crucial component of a successful website.  Whether you are selling products or services online, or simply providing information, it’s important to know how your visitors are reacting to your site.  Effective websites make it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for, while also driving visitors to perform some key “next steps” that result in an eventual sale for your business.  Website tracking provides the critical reports and knowledge that can help take your website from average to exceptional.


 

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