This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series “et the most out of your website”.

Web analytics software can help you determine the best practices for your small business website.

In today’s digital world, most small business owners realize the importance of online marketing. Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on website design and marketing campaigns, yet they fail to harness the full potential of their web presence because they don’t measure its effectiveness. Fortunately, web analytics software gives businesses the data to take the guesswork out of determining the best practices for your website.

Why does your website exist?

You must know the answer to this question before proceeding with anything else. There are probably dozens of things that you would like people to do on your website. However, how many of those actions really matter? Take a minute and ask yourself: what are the top two or three things that I want people to do when they visit my website?

Now that you know the primary reason your site exists, let’s talk about some simple ways to measure its effectiveness.

1) Is your home page about the main thing?

A visitor to your site takes less than eight seconds to determine if they will continue viewing your website. Take a look at your home page. Are your top two or three objectives very clear? If they aren’t, then you can start here. Get rid of the clutter and anything that is not driving visitors to complete your top objectives. Your home page is important, but it is not the end-all. Make sure it is in order and then quickly move on.

Most companies spend far too much time focusing on the home page of their site. The reality is that a site that is actively engaged in online marketing will see a large percentage (often as much as 50%) of visitors entering through secondary pages. These pages often go ignored even though they are the first page many visitors see.

2) Review your top landing pages

Take a look at your Top Landing Pages report. If you don’t already have this, ask your internet marketing company for it. Use the “80/20 rule” to identify the top landing pages that are getting the majority of your visits. Top landing pages are the different pages through which visitors enter your website. These are the people that are not entering through the front door, your home page. Focus your efforts on these pages, and don’t worry about all of the pages on your site with lower traffic, i.e. the other 80%. Depending on your site, you may choose to focus on anywhere from three to ten pages. Now, go take a physical look at each of these top landing pages, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Which of the pages you identified have high bounce rates? I would consider any page with a bounce rate over 35% to be a candidate for review. Note: Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that come to your site, view one page and leave immediately.
  2. Now take a physical look at each of these top landing pages with high bounce rates and ask yourself the following questions:
    • Can the visitor clearly determine what the top two or three actions are?
    • Are your calls to action above the fold on each page? Many users will not scroll down to see the lower portion of a page.

You should be able to quickly identify some areas for improvement, so make some changes and then revisit the Top Landing Page report in 30 days to see what worked.

Stay tuned for the next two tips on optimizing your website later this week.