11122917_sThis is one of the first questions I ask people when we begin the process of starting a new website. And often times, this stops people in their tracks, because so often they are concerned about what *they* want the website to do, or how they want it to look, instead of what they want their user to do. Don’t make this mistake. The first thing you need to figure out is what you want your user to do once they get there.

This also translates into “How will you measure if your website is successful?”

Every site is different, so every site will have a different measure of success. But we need to define how we’ll know if our goals are being met. A few different options include:

  • Traffic increase: One metric for measuring success is in pageviews and unique visitors. Are people visiting your website? Are new people finding you?
  • Bounce rate: The bounce rate is the number of people who land on a page and your site and then leave before clicking on anything else. You want a low bounce rate. This metric tells you whether people are sticking around or leaving fast.
  • Forms: If you are like us, then we want people to contact us, so a measure of success if filling out our online form.
  • Buy something: If you have an e-commerce site, then you can measure success with sales.

These are just examples, but the first step in measuring success is determining the metric by which we will gauge that success. There are businesses who will get a website and put it online, and consider that their measure. “I have a website! Yay!” But that’s not enough. We have to set goals and evaluate whether that goal is being met.

One metric I’d like you to avoid is this one: “I want to type in my keyword phrase into Google and see my site on the first page.”

Of course, this is something we all want. But we can’t use this as a measure for success for a few reasons. Number one is that Google tailors each person’s search experience based on their browser history. So if you have been to your website a lot, and then you search for your keywords, then it’s possible that Google will list your site in the search results for you. However, that doesn’t mean that someone in the next state will get the same result.

If you use Google analytics, you may have noticed that you can no longer see what keyword phrases people are using to find your site. That’s not accidental. What you see in Google is specific to you – so don’t make the mistake of making that your metric.

Another metric to avoid is, “My mom, friend, mailman, hair stylist doesn’t like it!” Sure, it’s great to have your friends and family take a look and give you their feedback, but ask yourself this – Are these people also your customers? If not, then take their feedback with a grain of salt. While their input may be valuable, the most important input you get is from your actual customers.

Our advice is: know your customer, choose a measurable goal, and evaluate whether your website is meeting that goal. 

Need help determining the goal for your website? Request a quote and we’ll help you measure success!

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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