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If your Web site seems to have dried up as a source of leads or sales, what should you do?
Try these ways to diagnose the problem and solve it.
If your aim is to redesign and relaunch your site then read this first. It may help you to avoid the problems before they start again.
Before you start trying to solve any problem, investigate when and where the problem started. If it is sudden, ensure that your site has previously been running without any problems. Consult your daily site statistics. If there is a significant amount of time without any traffic, get in touch with your developer or host right away. You may have an issue with server reliability.
If you have just launched your site, you may have unrealistic expectations or your fears might be justifiable. If, on the other hand, your site has been live for more than three years, it could probably do with being modernized, or even given a complete redesign. If your site has been somewhat neglected, your competition might have outdistanced you online.
Analyse your web results to locate the starting point of the problem. Check sites like Alexa.com to compare your site traffic to that of your competitors. Search for your current competitors online and review their sites. Find out if your site is competitive with prices, products, value and web site sophistication. If not, then this is probably the source of your problem. If you think you should still be recieving more traffic than you are, categorize your problems into one (or more) of these groups:
Whether your site is new or old, take time to review your site with a fresh perspective. Evaluate your site for content, concept, decoration, navigation and marketing efficiency.
If possible, make use of targeted focus groups to go through your site and do the same.
Finally, ask several customers who have never previously used your site to achieve a task or purchase something and give you feedback. On the whole, five people will give you enough feedback to get a reasonably clear picture on what is going on.
Every site must go beyond wanting to make a sale, to ensure the success of your site you have to make the customers want to be there and most importantly, want to return. Where is your site falling down? If you see a decline in time users are spending onsite, maybe users are losing interest. Post new content and see if this resolves the problem.
Here is where your web analytics become important. To analyse whether your site has lost its ability to hook visitors, look at these values in your traffic statistics:
Go back at least three months before your site started losing visitors. A pattern of abatement in any of those categories is a sign that your site could use a revamp.
Use a combination of onsite, online, and offline marketing techniques to make sure that you have covered many ways different avenues of reaching your audience. There are so many different methods to choose from:
Ensure all of your site’s links are working properly. Ask your developer to run a link verification program to check that all the internal and external (offsite) links on your site are working. You will need to check by hand that those links are going where you want them to and that all external links open in a new window. Ensure that all e-mail links function correctly.
If your users need to download PDF files first download them yourself to make sure they open properly and that there is a link for users to download Acrobat Reader. If you have forms, check that they work, too. Does the site have gracious error handling for phone numbers, e-mail address formats, or required fields that have been left blank? Does the site have a “Thank You” page to confirm that a request has been submitted correctly? That is not only polite, but essential for conversion tracking and it gives the customer proof that they and the site have done everything correctly.
Review these statistics for ideas on which pages may require repairing:
Most importantly, make sure that vital calls to action are easy to follow. It needs to be simple to book a room, reserve a table, buy online or whatever your business model dictates.
People find your site in one of three ways: They type in your URL, they link from somewhere else, or they find you through search engines. View your traffic statistics for the past few months. If possible, compare them to comparable months from the year before. Of course you cannot expect them to correlate exactly but you should be able to detect any major changes. Search engines look for recent updates so if your search engine position has lowered, try updating your site.
Look at the following data to detect changes from prior months that might indicate a problem:
Your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as requesting a quote or making a purchase) is your most important statistic. Sales are much easier to calculate with store statistics. To track leads, you need to decide what you are going to measure before hand and set up a method for counting.
For store statistics, see which products are selling and which are not. It is possible that you are losing customers at the checkout because your shipping costs are too high, to resolve this consider hiding some shipping and handling costs in the price or offering free shipping for orders over a certain amount. Check out:
If you are confident that your site fits the criteria for sales, inspect it to be sure you are covering all the bases to convert browsers to buyers. Here are some of the techniques you could use:
If you have any difficulties with your business going online will make them worse. Solve your problems first. If you cannot find out why your web site is losing money, the problem might not be with the site itself. Refocus on your target markets and business essentials. These options may help you make your website more profitable:
Your Web site will be with you for the entirety of your (business) life. If you do not manage your site well, it will flag, sag, drag, and ultimately collapse from neglect. Make sure you recognize the level of commitment required before you begin your project.