So, you chose your domain name, identified a look for your site and you’ve populated your website with content. How do you know that you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) from your website? There’s anecdotal information – perhaps your boss told you that a friend of his found the site and liked it. And, there’s analytical information – say, your website traffic has been doubling month by month and you can correlate that directly with your sales. In order to get the right ROI for your website, you need to take the time to measure your results – both anecdotally and analytically. Here are some questions (and answers) to get you started.

1. Do you have a benchmark? If you didn’t start with a website, then you ‘re benchmark is “0” and there’s nowhere to go but up. If you have a current website, take measurements of how many people are visiting your site today; which pages they are hitting; and what sort of information you are gathering from forms or landing pages that you have set up. This way, when you update your website, you’ll have something to measure it against.

2. What do your “conversions” look like? When you are running an e-mail campaign that drives your audience to a landing page where they need to provide your with some information (name, e-mail address, and phone number for example), what kind of names are you collecting? And, when someone calls or e-mails those names, are they converting into sales? Are you getting conversions at all?

3. How does your traffic look? In order to measure traffic, you’ll need to set up a web tool like Google Analytics. This way, you can see how many people are going to your site and where they are coming from. You’ll also learn about what people are doing on your site. Are they just looking at your home page and leaving? Are they coming to your site to read your blog? Look at how many pages people are clicking through on to see if people are interested in your content or not.

4. If you were your audience, what would you do? Think like a customer. If you are coming to a site for a book that you want to buy, how would you buy the book? If you are coming to the site to learn more information about a book, where would you go for more information? Knowing that you have people coming to your site with different purposes will help you create a page that easily directs your audience where they want to go. In this case, you’d want a “Buy Now!” button that took buyers straight to a shopping cart. And, you’d create a “Learn More!” button that would take your audience to quotes from readers, more information about the author, etc.

5. Have you tried any Search Engine Optimization at all? Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to your web site from search engines. It allows your site to have more visibility on the web and helps you expand your business to a larger audience. By using some simple SEO techniques or working directly with SEO experts, you’ll start improving the results you get from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo over time.

6. Are your testing the website with real people? Before you run a marketing campaign to drive traffic to your website or you unveil a new site, test it with real people first. Have a subset of your audience try out your website to make sure that it’s easy to navigate and has the content that they need. By testing your website in advance of launching it to a wider audience, you’ll learn a lot about what’s going to work and what isn’t working. Making some adjustments will help make the website more effective for your audience.

If you’re not measuring your ROI, don’t worry. There’s no time like the present to get started. Think about the time and effort that you put into your website and make sure that you – and your audience are getting as much value out of it as possible.

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