Website Optimization goes beyond just Search Engine Optimization. It’s about making a website a working part of a business. Website optimization makes your site match your company’s potential. It’s about using the site strategically, as a tool that drives and improves business. It’s not just about making the website represent the brand accurately, but also making the site become a vehicle for meeting the brand promise.
This critical dimension is what differentiates weak brands from strong brands. Weak brands react by filling baseline requirements for digital presences. Today’s strongest interact with their customers online as much as offline, creating market expectations by delivering on brand promises online. Today we have some great examples to examine and learn from.
The Two TOP CRITICAL questions for WEBsite Optimization:
Is your website doing some or all of your job?
Can you see your site’s performance?
Web optimization includes adapting traditional business to take full advantage of the web.
Web optimization is really business optimization. It often means transforming at least part of the business to reach the revenue potentials offered by Internet. Sometimes the potentials are hidden in digital niches, easy to grab, already under a company’s nose, but not recognized. It’s critical to take a frequent, fresh look at the changes in the digital ecosystem. You can discover how your business can capitalize on phenomenon your competitors aren’t leveraging yet. Businesses who manage to do this effectively become or remain leaders among their competition.
Some Great Examples of Website Optimization Transforming Business:
One super-popular example of an online presence integrating with a traditional brand experience to take it into the next dimension is the Dominos Pizza website. It allows customers to customize their pizza order, visually, online. It makes ordering a pizza easier than talking over the phone to place the order. It demonstrates the delivery on customer expectations, getting the pizza they want easily and quickly, by taking the traditional customer experience to the next dimension, online.
Our Successful Clients Benefiting from Web Optimization:
Local Florida Organizations such as WEL, TAHFA and the Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club use online event calendars, online membership applications and online payment tools to expand how they interact with their members while simplifying administration of content and organization members lists.
Staffing and Recruiting businesses have leveraged online job boards, integrated social campaigns and social automation to opportunities more visible to candidates.
Doctors, lawyers, and professionals from all fields use online presences to get more clients and make interacting with their clients take less time with appointment calendars and online forms.
Our solutions to deliver on your brand promise are within your reach, probably closer than you realize.
Here at Massive Impressions we build and deploy dynamic website features. Our web design expertise allows our clients to transform themselves into the online dimension. When smart businesses, from mom and pop shops to F500 brands, need to deliver on their brand promise, they turn to toolmakers like us. What’s really awesome, today in 2016, is that the tools to add amazing interactive features to website aren’t above reach any more. Now these same tools are available, off the shelf, to businesses of all scales. We deploy dynamic website features for our clients that take them into the web dimension, beyond brick and mortar limits, using today’s low cost, high impact approaches. This lets clients of all levels be competitive.
Real Estate companies like TeamLBR Real Estate use their website to feature properties for rent and for sale.
Museums and Art Galleries, like MacFineArt, use event calendars in their website and online catalog systems to curate their artist’s work online, showcasing the pieces and getting more traffic online and offline as a result.
Web portals make sharing internal, sensitive information easy and compliant with security requirements dictated by industry and exclusivity. Healthcare industry clients use portals to meet stringent HIPAA requirements. Marketing departments leverage portals to collaborate and exchange resources via threaded conversations.
Your site is one of the most evident parts of your brand, often the first impression.
Is your business digitally adapting to challenges and opportunities?
Is your website "working": doing your job for you or making your job easier?
Do you get new business through your website or hear customers mention it?
Do your employees send people to your website or use the site themselves?
Today’s consumers judge brands by their websites before they buy.
Revenue is impacted directly by investment in website optimization. Weak investment in ideas, in features, in message and in image aren’t going to be saved by a good brand. Instead they’ll drag that brand down beneath competitors who are getting it right.
Some businesses try to avoid this fact. They don’t explore potentials as much as they should. They take risks by seeing how little they can invest in their web presence, treating it a minimum requirement rather than a resource that should be maximized. By experimenting to see how low this slider can go, businesses make the bad decision to reduce a key factor that has direct impact on the sales funnel rate.
Some even fail to grasp the impact of these choices after they made them, ignoring or having false confidence in an ugly, outdated, or poorly published site. They don’t realize that instead of generating “just some” new business, a weak presence online is instead costing the business. A bad website could be driving sales to competitors.
Is your website delivering on your brand promise?
Precious business resources need optimization, business optimization, integrating online and offline presences.
Business Optimization is measured by the health of the sales funnel. If a sales funnel isn’t creating enough flow of new business, a business doesn’t meet it’s potential. All the revenue that could have been made from having the sales funnel flowing at the highest rate your company can handle is wasted. What gets wasted is not just the tangible gap between potential revenue and actual revenue. There’s also a lack of return on all the previous sacrifice and investment that went into the company since it was formed.
Well known factors determine the health of the sales funnel. It’s helpful to visualize the factors that determine the rate and quality of the flow through the sales funnel as controllable via “sliders” or those little sliding controls that everyone is familiar with when adjusting volume on a device. If “dials” are more familiar to you, that’s OK, because dials and sliders are essentially the same – they control a value within a range. For example, they control the volume of a stereo where to the left means less volume and to the right means more volume. Factors that impact the business can be adjusted up or down.
There are digital factors that have strong impact on sales rates.
There are lots of variables that impact the sales funnel’s rate of flow, a lot of factors that can be adjusted up or down. There’s the quality of your salespeople, the investment in advertising, attending events, marketing collateral, participation in organizations, customer service, payment options, price and lots of other factors that can either speed up sales or slow them down. There’s one slider, one factor whose impact continues to grow, yet too many business don’t understand. This factor that has an increasing and dramatic, chronically underestimated impact on business is Website Optimization.
Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You’ve got others who will take your customers from you.
Your customers are, at this very minute, doing their preliminary purchase research by visiting and comparing websites. They’re visiting your site. They’re visiting your competitor’s site. There’s a competition going on in their minds now, driven by the quality of your digital investments, the degree to which your website is optimized. Either your business will win, or your competitors will win, all determined without the customers stepping foot inside your door. Who has the best message, the best features, the best image, the best brand promise communicated online?
Are the unique ideas that make up your website representing your brand, doing your business?
Website Optimization means putting good business ideas in motion through your website and then being honest about how they’re measured.
Sometimes it’s simply an absence of the ability to view the correlation between web traffic and revenue. It’s most often because of a lack of willingness to examine it, too often originating from the impression that is requires learning some relatively complex, technical, and boring concepts. That’s not true. It’s actually simple to understand, especially if you consider that website optimization isn’t about fancy bells and whistles. It’s about meeting businesses goals plain and simple. The correlation is clear as long as you’re straightforward about your goals. At a minimum, look at the quantitative metrics: impressions, responses and conversions. You’ve got to look, look often, look honestly with as little bias as you can: Is it really working? What part is and what part isn’t?
Optimizing requires frequent and focused examination of expectations versus real traffic patterns.
Will your business neglect to turn up the volume on your web presence? Is there some other reason to expect your sales rates to increase in spite of a minimized investment online? Why? What’s going to make it succeed? Unless you’re absolutely confident that the factors that will impact its success the most are independent of online investment, then odds are you’re going to need to maximize your online investment.
How do you know if your website is optimized to meet its potential?
Be honest with yourself: is it doing your job? What do its numbers say?
Is your company’s website driving the most traffic it can?
Is it good traffic? Is it translating into sales?
Are the investments made in people, technology, products and relationships being leveraged to effect on your website and elsewhere online?
Is your job more profitable because of it?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions then you might as well be burning money in a barrel behind your place of business. The money that is going into salaries, rent, travel, events, expenses and everything else your business needs to exist as a productive machine isn’t giving the return on investment that it should. It’s being wasted because the sales funnel isn’t leveraging those factors as maximally as they can be leveraged.
Web producers, developers, website owners and analysts use analysis tools to gauge performance.
Two MUST HAVE tools for seeing how digital presences are doing.
Two absolutely essential tools every brand stakeholder should have visibility into are Google’s two web metrics tools: Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The Search Console tool was previously referred to as Google Webmaster Tools. These two tools allow web marketers and brand stakeholders to see what’s happening on a site and what’s happening outside the site, pointing in. We install these tools, by default, when we deploy new websites for our clients. It’s unthinkable for us to hand off a website to a client without their being able to see how it’s doing after it’s launched. Make sure these tools are installed in your website. If they aren’t, let us know if you need help installing or configuring them.
If you can see how your site is doing, you’ll know what to repeat and what to fix.
Website optimization has to take into account how real audiences are interacting with the site, before and after their initial click into it. Looking at the actual numbers can either be a rewarding surprise, a fulfillment of expectations, or a crushing disappointment. The numbers reveal wins and losses. It behooves stakeholders paying attention to the numbers to repeat things that have succeeded and correct things that fell short. The reason why many stakeholders ignore numbers is because there’s a wide distance between the raw data and usable conclusions.
Making conclusions usable for website optimization depends on someone who’s able to interpret the raw data objectively, with the stakeholders who the initial idea belongs to and without those same stakeholders in order to maintain objectivity. This role requires understanding the intentions and expectations of the initial stakeholders, the people who came up with the idea and want to see it succeed. The role also requires a certain degree of brutal honesty around the numbers, something personal relationships and emotional attachment to ideas can often muddy.
Google Analytics is a useful tool that Google provides for “free” to site owners. It allows site owners to see information about visitors and visits. It shows where visitors came from, both in terms of their origin geographically and their origin digitally: which sites they clicked over from, if any. It shows which pages on the site visitors are visiting the most, the least, and which keep the visitor’s attention the longest. It is the primary tool used for examining feedback about web optimization efforts. It lets us see if things are working.
It comes in a basic, free level that we install in our client’s sites by default, along with the Google Search Console tool. Sites that have lots of visitors, where high volume traffic patterns have a direct impact on the bottom line, can upgrade to a paid model of Google Analytics that includes more robust features. It’s not something the majority of site owners need to consider, whether they need to pay for it or not. Only high volume sites can really benefit from it based on its differences compared to the basic product.
This tool has matured and grown along with the growth curve of the Internet. Recent updates to it include the ability to visualize Click Paths, the routes that visitors take through the site, exposing how people use the site most often. Real time data has also been added. This reveals where people are clicking from, geographically, minute by minute, and what pages they’re visiting. If you’re doing a promotion, for example you just sent out an email blast or did a massive ad buy, looking at the real time data can reveal problems with the traffic that can be corrected on the fly, preventing losses.
Google Analytics is not without it’s issues, however, as there’s plenty of annoying garbage data caused by bots. Google does a lot to eliminate and discount bot traffic once it’s discovered, but it always takes a bit of time. The answer to “how many visits did the page get yesterday” isn’t cut-and-dry, but the Google Analytics tool works for revealing relative traffic patterns, and if you take the time to separate the wheat from the chaff, often using tools built directly into Google Analytics, the data able to be drawn from it is usefully accurate. It integrates well with Google’s AdWords, so that the data sets are joined, which is extremely critical for gauging the website optimization on landing pages and intended audience experiences expected by the ad buy.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console reveals what’s going on outside your site. It shows how Google sees the site, what other inbound links Google can count, and the general state of how the site is performing in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). It shows which keywords the site is indexed for, and the site’s rank for that keyword in the SERPs. Many 3rd party analytics packaged, for example MOZ and SEMRush and AHREFs depend on Google Search Console connectivity for the sites they’re analyzing because it exposes data about how the site is performing on Google that’s hard to obtain empirically.
Are third party analytics tools useful for web analytics and web optimization?
At Massive Impressions, where we’re asked often to optimize our client’s website for search engines and user experiences, we leverage third party tools. The reason we don’t depend on just Google Analytics or Google Search Console to get answers is simply based on time. These third party tools do a decent job of reducing the data, or combining the raw data into views that are easier to draw conclusions from. It follows the 80/20 rule that 80% of the questions we have can be more easily answered through these tools, but there’s always gaps that don’t reveal easy answers. Falling back to the raw data revealed in Google’s tools sometimes answers those difficult questions. Some questions or disagreements can only be answered by looking at financial performance data, CRM data, or even web server log files, the rawest of raw data.
When website optimization is the goal, sometimes the data we need is hidden among other data, with no way to separate it after the fact. That’s when we get pro-active and create mechanisms to mark and tag the data in dynamic ways, onsite and offsite, for example with our Mi360 tool that auto-generates Campaign IDs. This lets us slice and dice data in ways that give us more granular, more accurate views than any of the aforementioned tools can.
Web expertise, alone, does not yield an ability to glance at your website and say where you’re in most need.
It’s easy for a web expert to see what a site is doing wrong from a technology perspective, whether it’s following universal best practices or not. Technological gaps between what a site is doing now and what it should be doing are easier to discover compared to groundbreaking, competitive ideas. What’s required, in order to practice good website optimization, is a deep understanding of the business, especially the expectations of the stakeholders, owners, shareholders, and people performing the work. A good web developer engaged to optimize a site should be asking the questions that define the business, so that they can represent the business accurately online, both on the site and through the Internet.
The biggest and most important opportunities to leverage the web aren’t limited to content, architecture and design. Competition defines the need for continual optimization of both the website and the business as a whole, frequently taking into account the new potentials of the ever-changing digital ecosystem. The companies who make their website optimization a frequent part of their corporate culture will be the ones who are nimble enough to adapt to revenue potentials their competitors don’t.
It’s when the business, the customers, the website, the employees, the needs, the expectations and the dreams are all in harmony that a business thrives. Massive Impressions helps companies like yours do more than your competitors by helping bring integrate all facets of your operation in harmony. Engage us to become more competitive.