I used to think every business needed a website, but now I’m not so sure. If your business has a website, but you never examine whether the site performs the way it should, you may as well save yourself the monthly hosting fee. No matter how much you spent on it, the site is worthless.
I’m probably wasting my breath, er, keystrokes. Ignoring your website metrics is like ignoring the money in your cash register or not bothering to keep track of inventory. Just get rid of yourbusiness.com and focus on your newspaper, radio and TV ads.
How would you know if your site works?
Of course, your website might be driving some sales. It might be getting your bed-and-breakfast some bookings or your restaurant some reservations. People might be interested in the information they can download from your site. They might even want to subscribe to your email, but you’ll never know. Do you even know if your website generates phone calls or emails?
You see your website as an online brochure instead of a powerful marketing tool. Ignoring website analytics means you can’t tell whether it works or whether it can be improved to make life easier for both your customers and you.
Could your website sell even more?
Oh sure, if you sell merchandise or services on your website, you’ll know when an order is placed and paid for. But without knowing your site numbers, you won’t know whether you could sell even more.
How did those customers get to your site? An ad campaign? Referrals from another website? How many started to buy something, but abandoned the shopping cart before completing the purchase? Website analytics can answer these questions and help you make changes that could improve results.
No sense advertising online
Of course, if you’re not paying attention to your website traffic and conversions, you probably aren’t doing much online advertising or social media marketing. Who would spend money on those things without following up on results? (Ad platform metrics won’t tell you what you really need to know.)
There’s no sense maintaining a website if you don’t care whether it works for you. It’s useless and just takes up internet space. And when somebody tells you just have to have a website, or a new website, make sure they can explain why. Otherwise, don’t waste your money.
Mark Whittaker, a Pittsburgh-based online marketer, helps small businesses and start-ups find customers with search and social media advertising, content development and digital marketing strategy. Write to him at mark (at) markwhittaker.com and subscribe to his bi-weekly email.