Is your website doing its job? How do you know?
Whether or not your website is doing its job is a highly subjective question, particularly if you don’t have any benchmarks set in place by which to measure its performance. Turning “is your website doing its job?” into an objective question requires that you have goals in place for your website’s performance.
Defining a Conversion
Google Analytics defines a conversion as “the completion of an activity that is important to the success of your business, such as a completed sign up for your email newsletter (a Goal conversion) or a purchase (a Transaction, sometimes called an Ecommerce conversion).” That’s a pretty broad definition, but essentially what it means is that a conversion for one website may not be considered a conversion for another. Conversions are unique to each website.
Defining a conversion for your website means you need to define goals for your website. What do you want visitors to do when they arrive on your (virtual) doorstep? Chances are you’ll want your site’s goals to reflect your overall business goals.
There are no set “rules” when it comes to website conversions, outside of making sure the conversion goals you set are appropriate for your business. Your website’s conversion goals are completely up to you, but in setting these goals you’ll want to give consideration to what it is you want your website to do for your business.
Types of Goals
Just like conversions come in many forms, goals come in many forms, as well. While your site will likely have at least one overall goal, there are other goals to consider.
- Ultimate Conversions – these are the primary goals you have for your website. Whether it’s a making purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or page views, the ultimate goal of your site should be reflected in your ultimate conversion goal.
- Conversion Goals – At their most basic level, these goals are the desired actions you want your website to produce. Common goals include a completed purchase, a submitted form, a specific link clicked or page visited.
- Aggregate Goals – Average values for specific criteria on a site can provide a wealth of information. Knowing the average time visitors spend on a certain page, for example, could lead you to alter elements on that page in order to produce specific results. Aggregate goals can include time on site, average page views, and average revenue per visitor.
The type of business you have will have some bearing on the types of goals you set for your website. If you use your site for ecommerce, then a completed purchase will likely be a site goal. If your site is for lead generation, it would make sense to set goals for your site that include completion of a contact form, signups, or social engagement. Whatever the purpose of your site, the goals you choose should include not only an ultimate conversion goal but also additional goals which will allow you to review your site’s performance and make any tweaks necessary.
Back to the Question
So, is your website doing its job? If you can’t confidently answer that question, start with setting some conversion goals. But don’t stop there. Regular examination of these goals will allow you to fine-tune the effectiveness of your site as well as lead you to develop new goals. Using Google Analytics will also help you to determine the effectiveness of your site and its goals.
Just remember – a website that’s doing its job is a website that’s meeting its goals.