Your website is a tool that, when working properly, should boost sales, bring exponential ROI, and help provide continuous growth to your business. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many business websites.
For many businesses, websites have become a confusing black hole that seems to only take money with little to nothing in return. And for those who do experience some returns, what their website could potentially be producing has often barely been scratched.
The ways a business can use their website has come a long way since the dot com boom. Websites now have the ability to be data-gathering machines and 24/7 lead generators, all the while continuing to ever-improve and never slow down. It’s pretty amazing.
This is a phrase that can be heard ever-ringing in the mind of business owners everywhere. “Why did we spend so much money 2 years ago? Do we need a new website already?”
Too often businesses are plagued with the ominous task of working with another web design agency to create “the new best thing”, and after spending thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars, owners are left with nothing to show except a pretty web page.
It wasn’t that they didn’t put up the funds, hell, they even went with a more expensive option that included features a, b, and c. The agency had gone through all the right steps such as a messaging strategy, custom design, quality development, and then the site launched all fresh and shiny. But the results have been rather underwhelming. “Wasn’t this website supposed to make a dramatic difference to our business?”
Yes. It should have. But there was something missing.
There is a fundamental frameshift that needs to occur in order for websites to be really successful. Simply building a good-looking website does not check all the boxes that lead to a high-performing website.
So what is the missing element? Data-driven web optimization (DDWO).
You might be asking “what is that?” and that is completely okay! This isn’t something that is talked about a lot in the website design space.
Websites are most often primarily built around the vision of the business leaders. And while this can produce stunning results visually, the question is will the site perform well?
Data-driven web optimization revolves around ensuring a website’s consistent high-performance. There are many techniques used here, but a few to point out are conversion rate optimization (CRO), search engine optimization (SEO), and web analytics.
A quick side note on SEO: You may have heard of SEO before as many agencies are now offering this within their tool-belt. Something to note about SEO. There is a vast array of tasks that could fall under the banner of SEO, and the quality, as well as the effectiveness of those tasks, is on a vast spectrum. All that to say, not all SEO is created equally.
Let me paint a picture for you.
At the end of a 4-week slot, your website is reported on 5 factors:
Not only are you seeing steady improvement across all 5 factors, but the data is constantly being monitored and improved upon throughout those 4 weeks.
Imagine if your website converted 50% better than it does right now? What about 250% better? DDWO takes the approach of an ever-improving website.
No website will ever be perfect. (Our definition of a perfect website would be acquiring 100% of target traffic and converting 100%) But when properly utilizing DDWO, the website is ever-improving on a percentage basis.
Another big factor of a high-performing website is the strategic planning and execution of your website goals. This is a huge loss for many websites.
Without a clear goals strategy for the website, success is impossible to measure or obtain.
A simple one-page document will suffice. Write out what the goals are for your website. A way to rephrase the question is to ask, what are you wanting your target website users to do? A few examples might be:
Having a clear website plan in mind is key for a successful website.
Something I want to stress is that I am not opposed to great web design, I actually think it is very important and I pay a lot of money to keep a good website designer as a part of my team.
A good web design can communicate the quality and values that the company has, and many people won’t pay attention to a website that is poorly designed.
DDWO services are an addition to the website that is somewhat separated from the website build. There are many AMAZING website designers that I highly respect and would personally recommend that do not offer any DDWO services. And that is okay!
Reaching the point of success for your website will be a process and it will also be ever-evolving. DDWO is a tool that can help reach those goals for website success.
To conclude, I want to say that I do not think every business needs to be implementing this tactics, just like I don't think every business needs a custom website build. Businesses have to do what is right for them. This post isn't meant to force an idea, but rather hopefully shed some light and provide helpful insight.
Graphic Illustration Credit: JulieAnn Simpson (She did an awesome job, right?)
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