It’s important to define concisely what makes your new website a success, as every business is different.
This often overlooked and or undervalued question is why most websites fail to produce a return on investment (ROI) for businesses.
Failure to plan is a plan to fail. - Zig Ziglar
Website success defined
To best help us understand what website success is for your business, you’d answer the following questions related to website purpose and objectives.
Purpose of the website
- Communicate to potential and current customers
- Increase sales
- Increase marketing potential
- Increase brand awareness
- New customer acquisition
- Act as a traditional brochure or catalogue
- Reduce labor
- Improve communication within the company
- Improve processes within the company
Example objectives for a website
- Define what it is you do, why you’re the right solution to choose and make it easy and transparent to do buiness with you
- Sell x amount more products each month
- Sell x amount more services each month
- Integrated social media for better search optimization
- Social media ‘share to’ buttons, so content can be easily shared from the website
- Grow mailing list by x amount each month
- Rank high on search for products/services offered
- Inbound marketing using a blog, so your business is there when our target audience searches for answers related to what you do
- Re-marketing for Google, Facebook built into the website so those who do land on the website will find ads for your business services on other websites when they leave
- Increase website traffic by x amount each month
- Increase website engagement by x amount each month
- Increase website conversions by x amount each month
Website success understood
It’s important that you know the web designer and web development team has an accurate understanding of what makes a successful website for your business. It is equally important to us, so we’ll both want confirmation of our mutual understanding of website success.
Strategies and tactics
Once an understanding of the question “what is the website to do?” is answered, we’re able to imagine how the website could be designed around achieving those goals. Often there are many ways to solving a problem, so the strategies and tactics used on the website to achieve your objectives can differ greatly.
INCREASE MONTHLY SALES RESULTING FROM EMAIL MARKETING
A simple example of a measurable website business goal is to build/grow an email mailing/marketing list. Increase sales from monthly email marketing campaigns
- Develop a web content strategy that works to continually provide people within your target market ‘some type of content’ that’s useful, relevant and unique
- Showcase the latest content on the homepage of your website
- Share (market) newly created content to social media from the website
- Use newly created content in monthly backlinking campaigns
- Advertise newly created content to social media, search and YouTube with uniquely created campaigns for each (helps improve sourcing attribution).
Email marketing strategy
- Define the people, processes and protocols with clear expectations and measurables
- Develop smart email marketing campaigns using the web’s latest technologies for insights
- Email open verification
- Item Link(s) clicked verifications
- Deep insights into your subscribers behaviors in both email and the website
- Send monthly smart email campaigns (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc…)
- Measure, source and report monthly sales resulting from email marketing
- Review the results, imagine how to improve the results and develop a hypothesis
- Continually improve
Website measurement plan
After we’ve agreed upon the strategies and tactics the website will use, we’ll be able to make the critical element of website success realization; the website measurement plan! This will help us setup the Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and other objects necessary to understand, evaluate and report on key performance indicators. Key performance indicators will ultimately be our means of measuring website success.
In reality, the question of website success isn’t answered by just the website itself. Therefore, the article is a bit misleading, until now. It should have maybe said “potential success”, but then that wouldn’t sound right or worthy of reading. There exist many variables beyond the scope of the actual website design and development that play a role. Local data, domain authority, page authority, backlink juice, relevancy, keyphrases, quality page content, traffic, social and much, much more are all playing a role in the inevitable success or failure of a website’s return on investment. But, the website is the foundation, it’s the mission critical object that must be done right before any other efforts done right can meet their success potential.
After website completion
Imagine your new website is a boat to help people get across the water to your island. It’s able to perform the job and function of transporting users to your island and dropping them off as customers. But how do they find your boat? The ocean is large and there are lots of boats. Now, the boat was built right, users understand what it is used for and lighthouses are able to find it and understand it and communicate about it, but what makes your boat better than the other boats that do a similar thing?
“Showing up high in search is a war of many battles fought on many simultaneous fronts.” - Ken W. Button
Ranking high in search results is a war of many battles fought on many simultaneous fronts. Often, it’s a battle of attrition that’s very difficult to see improvement because just as you make efforts to move up in search, so are your competitors. You’ve got to have fortitude, realistic expectations and strong execution of a plan designed to fight and win as many battles as possible.
Win the battles, win the war
In any problem, you must first understand a problem exists before solving it. You must know and understand that a great website foundation is only one part (an important part) of the search engine ranking process. On its own, a website isn’t enough to show up high on search engine results. Now, If you’re going to fight multiple battles on multiple simultaneous fronts, you’re likely going to want to know where, when and how to fight - right?
Understand search engine goals
Understand how to fight, where to fight and when to fight by understanding the search engine goals and the means by which they can and cannot meet their goals. Can code jump out of the computer and ask every person in a town who makes the best popcorn in town? No. Can code travel through all the websites of the world daily and bring back information it finds on the websites to a central system where computation occurs and then a ranking of websites occurs? Yes. Well what websites can a search bot deduct information about your business or your competitors business in which it would use to compute? Social media? Yes. Other websites related to your business? Yes. Other websites not related to your business? Yes. Your website? Yes. If you’re aware that Google, Yahoo and Bing come to your website ‘every day’ and take notes about what you’ve done - inspecting, critiquing and analyzing your website - maybe you’ll be more inclined to plan and execute continual efforts to place new and useful content relevant to your target market. Yes. (even though that wasn’t a question)
Search engines are trying to best answer questions that users ask and those search engines know well that if they send people to the ‘wrong’ answer, they will not continue using that search engine. The search engine ranking system is elaborate, complicated and undisclosed to the public, to developers - to anyone. It’s a secret as to what, why, where and who gets placed in which spot on search engines. That said, there are many things that people are able to deduct as important and many of us developers and search engine optimizers have decades of experience trying different things and seeing different results. Experience in search optimization efforts is what most draw upon in terms of what works and doesn’t work, but at Triocto we extend that concept with imagination and anticipation search optimization efforts.
- New content on your website
- Sharing your new content to social media outlets
- Video content that offers more than words can offer
- Pictures offering more than words can offer placed on your website and social media
- Amount of high quality websites (high domain authority) that are linking to you
- Amount of websites relevant to your business that are linking to you
Winning or losing battles
You’d not make a great five star General if you delegated arbitrarily with blindfolds on! You’ll certainly not win the battles let alone the war if you don’t know how things are going, where you’re doing well and where you need more and better work. Once you know the score, you’ll be able to determine what it is your opponents are doing to have that higher score and what you could do to beat them in that given area. Fortunately, we have the website measurement plan but it’s not the end all for evaluating web success.
This isn’t complicated, so don’t complicate it! Document the results of you and your competition in key areas that a search engine ‘can’ and ‘likely’ uses to deduct search rankings. Here are two non-website related examples search engines may and likely use in determining ranking results:
- Number of youtube videos
- Number of those videos that are relevant to your brand
- Frequency of video upload
- Rate the quality content of each video as if you were taking score based on usefulness, originality and relevancy
- Number of positive and negative Google reviews
- Number of positive and negative Yelp reviews
- Number of positive and negative Facebook reviews
- Number of positive and negative Angie’s List
It’s worth noting that it’s logical and therefore likely that search engines weigh some battlefields more heavily than others. Therefore, in our war analogy, make sure you prioritize fighting and winning the big battles. And yes, one of the biggest battles is your website at launch and your website every day after launch. Remember… Whether you fight to win or abstain to lose, search ranking score is being kept and tallied daily in every way and in the only ways score can be taken, computed and reported by computer code.