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Measuring Website Performance – Are You Doing This?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Which Dashboards to Monitor and Measure To Improve Website Performance?

Are you measuring website performance? At ICTADVISOR measuring website performance and conducting deep drilling website audits has become a popular service that we deliver to clients, especially over the last 6-9 months where we have seen a substantial increase in the  number of website performance reviews being asked for on a regular basis. During the initial interview process we need to gather information from the business website owner and just one of those very important questions is:

As a small business website owner do you make use of both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to measure website performance?

The answer often is not surprising – “no, not really”.  Of the SME businesses asked, many are either not using either of these two products, or each google product has been set up but by the web developer and the data residing in the web developers Google Account. In lots of cases it has been found that the web developer had decided not to provide access to the data so the business owner could not see how well the website was performing. Maybe this is because it would show that the web agency has not done such a good job of building a successful website? Or maybe it is the website agency that was heard to say “Website Marketing – no – don’t talk to us about that – we just build websites” – Say What – Are You Kidding?

And of course even today, there are still Small Business Owners eager to tell you they have Google Analytics in place and are only using the tool to measure HITS! OMG! – Quick, get a doctor, this person needs help.

Another observation is that hardly any of the small business owners interviewed knew of the importance of Google Web Master Tools and making sure it was properly connected to Google Analytics.

So if the small business is not making good use of these important Google Products, what answer comes from the next question – How Many People small business owners are using Google Adwords?

Not surprisingly the answer is “Yes, used it once, lost a lot of money and wouldn’t use it again” or “I don’t click on those Adwords Ads, as these are Agressive marketers, and I am not one of those”.  Incredible answers. Yet, you ask some of Britain’s small business owners what is your most successful marketing channel? The answer is – Google Adwords – and many see it as the umbilical cord they would not cut.

It is amazing to find that it is always the small business community who tend to answer with a negative comment about the use of Adwords.

The Google Product Tools You Need for Measuring Website Performance

Yet, without the combination of the ANALYTICS, WEB MASTER TOOLS and ADWORDS, your website is not going to get off to a head start and could wait a very long time on gaining success. Because, all you are doing is flying blind with your website.

Other business owners leave these tools in the hands of their web developers, but this tends to create even more problems for the Small Business Owner. Look around at many of the small website agencies advertising online and they offer everything – website development – graphic design – copywriting – search engine optimisation, you name it they do it. Then you find that the web agency is made up of either all programmers, or all designers, and none have done any form of marketing. Like the quote from an agency interviewed – “we don’t do marketing, we just build websites”. This was because they were confronted by questions about their websites not performing, and yet they advertised on their website, how important search engine optimisation was!! Astonished is the only word that can describe this.

So, what is the reason for so many small business websites failing, it is because small business owners don’t take sufficient time to learn how to make best use of any of these dashboard tools. And, many SMEs think they will get away with just doing DIY WEBSITE MARKETING. Therefore, it is not surprising when asked to do a website performance review, the outcome in the report points towards many red lines of highlighted failure across the website, as the business does not really know what they should be doing with those tools, or how they and not the web agency should be responsible for the websites destiny.

Is Your Website A Racing Car – And is it Winning Races?

If you consider your website a racing car and you were preparing to go out on the track and win races, would you simply go to a mechanic and say – build me a racing car like that one over there?

This other racing car you looked at – over there – how do you know how good the performance is of that other racing car? Would it not be important to understand first of all, to analyse how your competitor is winning those races?And so from this intelligence thinking, you can take the approach towards building your next website by making sure from the intelligence you gather from these all important dashboards, that when you come to the web agency and ask them to build something that will be hopefully better than the competitors racing car, it is you who drives the website design project, not just the web agency.

Of course you might go down the route of building your own website? How long do you think that might take you? Will you be able to think like a web developer and be as creative as web designer and so, get the layout right so the page converts, or build the right menu infrastructure and a page architecture that is aesthetically pleasing to the visitors who you want to land on them?

If you decide to stick with the approach of using a web agency, an answer you might get from some of the small web agencies who you approach and ask them to build a website for you is, “yes, no problem we will have it ready in a few days”. Now, does that now sound like a recipe for disaster?

And so, you find that this type of web agency will not ask many important questions about the design, navigation, look and feel etc. They will just go off and build – what they think is right, based on their own level of skill. Therefore, what you might end up with is a website built simply to the knowledge skill level of the web designer who might simply be a ‘box builder’ and have no internet marketing knowledge.

Box builders are those who will just download a site like WORDPRESS, JOOMLA, DRUPAL, (and there are others), and simply build on what they know. Whereas put these products in the hands of serious web developers and agencies who truly understand what web marketers have to achieve in order to win and make money, is like night and day.

Finding web agencies who actually demonstrate best practice and understands how important it will be for the site to meet with minimum coding standards and ensuring that scripts load swiftly along with a number of technical specifications that will be important if the website is to achieve its objectives, are far and few between. ICTADVISOR with its Website OnlineXcellence Program to assist small medium businesses has been exposed to hundreds of web agencies since 1998 having been engaged to joint share in projects where the web design team were already in place and in some cases had already built the site before our web marketing knowledge had been called upon to help the site make money.

So, this article looked at how to make use of the right dashboards so you can measure the performance of your website. And, it suggests to you that you must learn these dashboards and know what to look for, if you are to then manage your website developer or agency, because they might just be – box builders – and not have any knowledge of how to get your website to make money.

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