SCORE: How well is your small business website performing?

By on February 21, 2018

Each month The Outer Banks Voice showcases information from the Outer Banks Chapter of SCORE, an organization of retired executives who coach start-ups and new businesses, helping them establish a sound footing for their new ventures.

With so many other things to pay attention to in your business, tracking your website’s performance can be a daunting task.

Web analytics platforms put an abundance of data at your fingertips. But if you haven’t the funds to hire someone to keep tabs on it for you, you may feel overwhelmed and under-inspired to dig into it.

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So how can you avoid spending a lot of time and still get a decent grasp on the effectiveness of your website?

Keep it simple by focusing on a few key metrics. Several that can provide beneficial insight include:

  • Unique visitors. This represents the number of people who visited your site during a specific time period (last week, last month, last year, or some other time frame). It can give you a sense of whether or not your marketing efforts (both online and offline) are attracting people to your website.
  • Repeat visitors. If the number of visitors returning to your site is growing, it is a good sign people are finding something of value there.
  • Referral traffic.These are the websites and individual pages that are sending visitors to your website. As users click on external links (on other blogs, websites, social media sites, online directories, etc.) that go to your site, they are tracked so you know how many visitors come from those external sources. This is powerful knowledge that can help you identify what marketing and outreach tactics are most effective at drawing traffic to your site.
  • Exit page. This metric identifies the specific pages from which visitors (who viewed multiple pages during their visits) leave your website. By seeing which pages have the higher number of exits, you can determine if that’s acceptable. For example, you’d expect customers to leave your site after completing orders and viewing your order confirmation page. But if other pages have a high incidence of exits, it may be because they’re not providing adequate information or because they’re difficult to navigate.
  • Bounce rate. When visitors “bounce,” they visit one page of your site and then leave without viewing any other pages. What’s an acceptable bounce rate can vary depending on the type of business you have and what you’re trying to accomplish with your website?Bounce rate could mean people found the information they needed right away, or people might have bookmarked your site to come back to it later, or it could mean they didn’t find what they were looking for and didn’t have an interest in going deeper into your site. Different sources have different ideas of what a “bad” bounce rate is. But as a general guideline, you might consider it worth investigating further if yours is over 55 percent.
  • Bonus metric/Conversion rate. If you’ve established goals to track in your analytics (such as signing up for an e-newsletter, making a purchase, downloading a white paper, etc.), this metric can help you assess how well your copywriting and site layout are compelling visitors to take action.

There are additional metrics, as well, to give you more insight. But if you’re short on time and/or in-house resources and you don’t have a budget for outsourcing assistance, these basics will provide you with valuable information that can help you in your marketing efforts.

You can also reach out to SCORE Outer Banks for marketing guidance. Mentoring from the small business experts at SCORE is free, and it can help you during all phases of starting and growing your business.

SCORE Outer Banks is the local chapter of the national SCORE Association, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SCORE provides free and confidential business mentoring services to business owners and entrepreneurs in the United States.

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Last year, SCORE was credited with creating over 54,000 new businesses and helping over 38,000 businesses increase their revenues. For more information about starting or operating a small business here in the Outer Banks, email mentor@scoreobx.org or call 252-256-9717.

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