What the Stats May Be Telling You
It is useful to review your website statistics occasionally, and make adjustments as needed. (And if you haven’t seen your website statistics recently, ask your webmaster!) This is especially true if:
- Your website is experiencing an unexpected decline in visitors
- You notice an increase in “mobile” visitors and your site does not support them
- You are regularly seeing a large number of visitors but little business from your website
How should you respond to these situations? What can/should you do to correct the problems? Which problems suggest you may need to seek help from a website professional?
A Decline in Visitors
If your site is experiencing a decline in new visitors, the first thing to suspect is your placement in search engines. You should ask your webmaster whether the site regularly being “crawled” by the major search engines, and are they experiencing errors; is the site map up to date; and are the search engines making suggestions for improvements to your website?
If potential customers cannot find your website, you also should take a role in doing all you can to pull them in. This process is called inbound marketing, and it’s something you can undertake with a little investment in your time. If used correctly, social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+) can drive traffic directly to your website. As a side effect, appropriate links from social media to pages on your website can even improve your placement in search engine listings.
An Increase in “Mobile” Visitors
An increase in mobile visitors to your website is certainly a very good thing, unless your website can’t handle them! If someone reaches your website and cannot read what they find there, then you’ve probably lost that customer.
Websites designed before 2008 almost certainly are not “mobile-friendly”, and smart-phone visitors to these sites either see a tiny image of your website, or they “stretch” the view and have to move the page around as they read. There are 2 popular solutions to the problems presented by mobile visitors: “responsive” website design, and “mobile-specific” website design.
Websites built using a responsive design may shift the layout to accommodate the size of the device in use. Some items (e.g., images) may be resized or omitted entirely on small devices. Navigation buttons often change shape, spacing and size to support accurate finger-touch actions.
Mobile-specific websites incorporate design and programming standards which smart-phone users are accustomed to seeing on their device. This approach is also designed for efficiency and speed, since cell phone connections can be much slower than broadband Internet.
A Large Number Of Visitors But Little Business
If you are getting website traffic but you’re seeing little business from that traffic, then your website may need a redesign to keep visitors on the site. Your visitors have expectations of what a website “should” look like, based on their experiences at other websites. As recently pointed out on WebsiteMagazine.com:
“Stagnant websites simply can’t keep up in the continually evolving online world. Those that update often and experiment bravely with an eye to gorgeous, yet functional design are sure to grab visitors’ attention. These top sites feature striking design elements that help them stand out at the head of the pack.”
Out-dated graphics, and old-style layouts and color will be noticed right away by your visitor, and may suggest to them that your business just isn’t keeping up with other companies in your industry. If you’re running a lodge or a restaurant, you would clean the carpets and apply a new coat of paint regularly; why wouldn’t you refresh your website?
Apart from the website design, and arguably more important, is your website’s “content”. Are you using an interactive map, or an old static stylized “map” image? Are the pictures of your business current, or do they show your building as it looked 3 years ago? Has your address, phone number, or email address changed (can your website visitors contact you)?
Search engines like to recommend websites which are regularly updated with new and relevant information. If your home page is regularly updated (monthly? quarterly?) with something new which your visitors might find interesting or may be looking for, then your search engine rank will improve. Freshening your home page can be as simple as featuring the newest item on your menu, describing a new product, or mentioning upcoming activities at your business. You know your business better than anyone, and your website is the place to share that information.
Your webmaster should have access to many more details about your website, and these details may suggest specific website problems and how they can best be corrected. Some problems can be solved with little or no cost to you beyond your time. Other problems may require you to invest in some assistance from a website professional.
If you have any questions about your website statistics and what they may be telling you, I would be happy to chat!
Download a printable version of “Your Recent Website Activity: What the Stats May Be Telling You”.