Analysing what works and what doesn’t
Last week we looked at digital applications, which for some, may feel like a bitter pill to swallow or may just be completely out of budget. So where should you spend your money? How do you choose where to invest and what tools can you use?
There is no direct ‘second best’ to utilising artificial intelligence to conduct the mundane operations of the website, but you can still do the same jobs manually. First, you need to get the basics right to make your work worth it.
MASTERING THE BASICS
It sounds obvious but regularly checking that everything on your website is actually working is a great way to maintain a successful presence online. The internet is a changeable beast and although your website may have been the bees knees in 2005, routine updates and changes to how internet browsers work can make your site completely unusable. Keeping your site working and functioning well should be your first priority, and minimum requirement.
Earlier in our blog series, we saw how quickly visitors will drop your website if it is slow but what we didn’t discuss is that you will have the same result if your content is not engaging and clear enough. It is important to deliver a clear and digestible message right off the bat to avoid a high drop off rate.
If you dive into complex, detailed and heavy content about what you sell, prepare see a high drop off rate from your site visitors. Likewise, if you don’t say enough or explain why you deserve someone else’s money then you won’t see a great conversion either.
CHOOSING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
How do you decide what colour to make the buttons on your website? We have seen it debated hundreds of times. Should it be bright red to catch your eye? Should it be blue to match the brand colour? Or should it be purple because that’s Susan’s favourite colour?
People care about these choices because they have an impact on the effectiveness of a website and on your business. The best option then, is to try them all. Applying a quantifiable result to which colour performs best allows you remove people’s natural bias.’ This is A/B testing. It allows you to test two variables against each other and implement the variable that performs the best.
Most commonly, this happens by splitting the traffic 50:50. Half will see a red button and the other half, a blue button. If the red has a higher click-through-rate, your choice has been made. Next week, test the red against Susan’s purple, the highest click-through-rate wins.
A/B testing can be done on anything – the phasing of ‘About us’ text, hero images, navigation structure. Defining what makes these better than the other is often not a straight line, so start with simple choices and move on slowly.
If A/B testing sounds a little too technical to implement, you can go back to the basics with your website’s analytics. Google analytics offers a great deal of insight into user behaviour. For instance, what pages are most popular, how long users spent reading your content and where they came from. An hour reviewing your analytics will offer good insight into what content your visitors enjoy most and which pushed your visitors into your sales funnel. Then it is a case of creating more of the same type of content with small new twists.
Your review will give you an idea of what future direction is going to work best for you. If this seems obvious, you’ll be surprised to hear that “less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking, or coupon codes [and] 18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything.” Assigning a means to analyse what your website does, learning from that and enacting change is going to give you an advantage over a lot of your competition.
THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS
We have talked a lot about automation and analytics in making smart investments. Here are a few applications that you can ‘rent’:
Hubspot have created a free CRM that we think is actually pretty great. It will track users on your site and if they are a contact that has entered their email address, then you will see everything they do. You can set up some lead scoring, a chat bot and email automation. However, these come at a price so you’ll need to fully commit to using them. If you are spending the budget, you’ll need to consider if this is the best use.
Crazy Egg offers in depth analytics of your website including heat maps and videos of users’ use of the site. If you are keen on finding out why your site is not converting users into customers, this is a good first stop.
Lastly, MailChimp offers automated emails that can distribute your news and chase abandoned shopping carts. Again, this can be pricey – especially if you are using a few of these services in conjunction – so think carefully about where you will use your budget.