Your Website Facelift: Analytics, SEO and Functionality First

Web Development
New technology has forced us to reconsider our faces in more ways than one.
Consider the recent news, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, that the body part inspiring more people to go under the knife is the chin.  “Chinplants” are becoming the fastest growing cosmetic surgery trend.
The growth in online video conferencing has been identified as the motivation. Now we are forced to look at our own faces beyond the limitations of a bathroom mirror. We analyze, analyze and then analyze some more.

Jolie Chin

Similar facelifts are probably required on your website, especially if you have not taken enough time to analyze the data at hand, but instead focused on the most superficial elements.  Plastic surgeons will tell you that the key to a successfull surgery is spending considerable amounts of time analyzing the face to determine what chin would look good on what face.  An Angelina Jolie chin would not look good on New Jersey Governer Chris Christie irregardless of how bad he needs a chinplant.  Similarly, an e-commerce jewelry site would not necessarily have the same layout, call to action, and SEO requirements as a real estate company site.
When it comes to performing a facelift on your site, analyzing the available data at hand is ever so crucial to developing an effective website.  Ever since creative design firms began offering websites as part of their portfolio, it quite often happens that design trumps functionality. When a site looks too gorgeous, users have a hard time navigating. The “call to action” therefore remains elusive.

Analyzing Analytics

chinplantschinplants2Google analytics is free, it pretty much fills the need of most businesses, and can help you make informed decisions that can really affect your ROI.  There are some basic web protocals that even the most advanced of design firms don’t take into consideration when designing a website and should be fully understood as part of the analyzation phase.

  1. List your “call to action” in numbered order and implement all over the site – ( #1 – Sell T-shirts, #2 – Market our physical store, #3 – Like our facebook page)
  2. Reduce the buying process to 4 steps max.  Studies show that by integrating a payment system in your cart as opposed to outside providers such as Paypal and Bigcartel can almost double sales.
  3. Effectively communicate testimonials and media – If the product is a little abstract, users need verification that your product or service has been used effectively before and that you have even gained media attention

Understanding your current web analytics cannot be underestimated.  Appliance Store is a family owned business since 1958 currently being passed on to the third generation in the family and with it a more effective online push.  They own multiple stores throughout Michigan and for years have invested heavily in print and radio advertising.  Jim Shwartz tells me, “For years we have focused on marketing our stores through radio and print, but considering the 10% decline in store sales, it is time to refocus on our online properties.”

Their existing site was seeing significant traffic which made analyzing the data that much easier.   Data revealed that 95% of their web traffic flowed to their product pages while other pages showed a total of 9 visits all year!  An interesting statistic uncovered on a weight loss management company revealed that testimonials was the page most viewed by users but only became popular after the 2nd interaction.

SEO Foundations

At first glance, the simplest of business owners perceive SEO (if they even know what it stands for) to be cumbersome and highly technical.  While only partly true, Search Engine Optimization needs to be well thought out, prior to any website launch.  Understanding the foundations of SEO is crucial to either maintaining existing Google page rank, or setting the basis for allowing Google to actually find and index your site.  There are stories abound of firms that had built the nicest of WordPress sites, but had failed to install and implement any of the free SEO extensions. The increase in traffic and ultimately revenue by maintaining proper SEO foundations easily proves valuable.

While simple and cheap websites proliferate the landscape, understand that you are essentially getting a hair dresser to perform a chinplant.