If you own a retail store and want your website to function at a high level, the metrics you measure for success are slightly different from those of an e-commerce based website. Here is a 10 item checklist you can use to make sure your website is performing at a high level.
1. Make sure your website has a clear path to the action you want visitors to take. Sounds obvious but most people miss it. If you want to collect names, there should be a clear path towards a download or contact us page. If you want someone to call, the phone number should be prominently displayed on every page.
2. Make sure your website has a clear message as to what you do. With the speed of the internet and the wide availability of options on the web, visitors to your site are impatient. Deliver a clear message about what your site offers that immediately resonates with visitors and confirms that they’ve come to the right site.
3. Avoid using lots of Flash. Flash may make your site look cool, but it will increase your site’s load time, frustrating visitors with slower internet connections. Flash is
also not visible on some mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads.
4. Create enticing reasons for your website visitors to come into your store. If you’re main goal is to get more traffic in the door, give them a compelling reason to do so.
Deals and specials that have an expiration date create a sense of urgency and tend to work best. Just remember that someone on your team (or your web developer)
will be responsible for making these updates. Make sure there’s an area on the home page of your site that displays these deals.
5. Make deals and specials social. Adding the ability for a website visitor to share info about your site, especially timely offers is a great way to let your fans spread the word about your site for you. Adding a share this on Facebook or ReTweet button to your adds allows your website visitors to become your marketers.
6. Create coupons that are available only on your website. Even if you don’t sell anything on your site, by hosting printable coupons on your site, you can drive more traffic and can more accurately track which customers in your store came from your website. Make sure to code your coupons for tracking.
7. Keep an eye on the right website metrics. Every single website should have Google Analytics or some version of tracking analytics available. Some core metrics to measure are Unique Visits, Goal Conversions (made it to a certain page, complete a form, etc), Traffic Sources, Entry Keywords, Bounce Rate and even Click Overviews can provide you a wealth of information about who your visitors are, what they are looking for, even what they are clicking on your site. You may be surprised by what you find.
8. SEO must be in place. The internet is an increasingly more competitive place. Any website worth it’s salt will have, at a minimum, great on page SEO and preferably, a robust offline campaign as well. Ranking well in the search engines for relevant keywords that drive traffic is THE most cost affective way to increase business. Period.
9. Give ’em a reason to come back. The problem with a lot of websites who’s primary goal is to increase foot traffic is that they do a bad job of keeping customers engaged. Offer a newsletter signup on your site and in your store. Use the newsletter to stay top of mind with your clients who’ve already been to your site or already purchased from you, because they are more likely to do it again. Put links in your newsletter that drive traffic back to your site for special coupons and discounts they can spend in your store. You can also post videos to your site and drive traffic from your newsletter, Facebook or Twitter to your site to view the video. This can help increase customer engagement on your site and encourage visitors to come back.
10. Become an internet snoop. It never hurts to see what your competition is doing. You may see some things you want to avoid and you may seem some things you want to implement. You can also look for stores similar to yours which are in a non-competing area. Peruse their websites for inspiration from time to time to make sure your website is staying up to date.
The most important thing to remember when building a new website or evaluating your own website is the end goal. What do you want your website to achieve? Does your website accurately reflect the overall aesthetic and feel of your company? What do other people think about your site? And remember, if you aren’t measuring how your site is doing, then you can’t improve it.