What’s going on behind your website?

Minions behind your website

Running a successful website is hard work, man. What happened? It used to be so easy. The dude who built your site just built it and that was that. As the impact of digital has grown and basically everyone is online now, website work has become more complex.

Today, there are several different roles involved in keeping a site alive. We have Back-end Developers, Front-end Developers, Web Designers, Usability Designers, Information Architects, Conversion Optimisers, SEOs, System Administrators, Copy Writers, Digital Project Managers, Content Managers, Social Media Experts, Community Managers, Content Marketers, Data Analysts…the list goes on and on.

What your visitors see (your website) is hopefully a neat, polished, attractive website which is easy to use. While two different sites might be just as good looking and successful, the amount of blood, sweat and tears that go into them can differ dramatically. In a recent blog post I wrote about the data-driven content machine and how it works in practice. For those of you who don’t have time to read it, I argued that there are three layers to keep in mind to drive a successful website: behind your site, on your site and above your site.

  • On your site – refers to your actual site and how well it performs in terms of design, usability, conversion, content etc.
  • Above your site – refers to how you drive visitors to your site i.e. SEO, content marketing, PPC, social media etc.
  • This blog post will be all about the Behind Your Site layer of things and refers to objectives, goals and KPIs that you set for your website.

I’ll be the first one to recognise that all of these layers include a lot more than I’ll be discussing here, but to keep some kind of focus for this post I’ve chosen to limit it a bit.

Behind the site

Behind the site might sound like a nail biting crime story but it’s more interesting than that. It’s all about where you want to go with your business and how your website will be used to reach your goals. Yes, that’s right, your website can and should be an integral part of your business. For ecommerce businesses this is obvious enough, but for some reason only a handful of companies collect data to analyse their success. Let’s look at how this can be done without shedding too much blood, sweat or tears.

Objectives

Everyone should have at least one objective with their website and/or business. Objectives are important since without a clear idea about where you are going, any road will take you “there”. So what do I mean by ‘objective’? Your objectives are the answer to questions like: Why do you have a website? What’s the most important thing for your website?

Goals

Once you understand your objective it’s time to create your goals. The goals will be the more specific strategies to reach your objective. So while an objective might be: Become the go-to site for Hug Pillow lovers, the actual goal(s) that define the wider objective might be: increase blog visitors.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Just like your goals define your objective, the KPIs define your goals. For each goal there is usually more than one KPI to really get an understanding of how you’re performing against your objective. Let’s continue the above example:

  • Objective – become the go-to site for Hug Pillow lovers
  • Goal – increase blog visitors
  • KPIs – number of page views for blog, number of social shares for blog posts

Note: While KPIs can be used by conniving managers to look at individual performance, really, it should be used as a tool to kick off brainstorming sessions on how you can tweak your site/content strategy/keywords etc. to reach your goals. Here’s a list of great KPIs from web analytics genius Avinash Kaushik.

From theory to practice

As you can see the objectives, goals and KPIs all work together to create an understanding of where you want to go and how well you are achieving that.

Now it’s your turn. Implement an objective, define the goals and set KPIs. If you’re using Google Analytics this is easy peasy.

Start by opening up a spreadsheet and create one column for your objective, one for your goal(s) and one for your KPIs.

Define an objective. This tend to be ‘sell more x’ for companies with an ecommerce site, so let’s stick to that one. Type your objective into your spreadsheet.

You want to sell more of x, but what will the strategies be to achieve this? Goals for this objective could be ‘create more sales’ and ‘increase users’. You can use my example but I urge you to really think about these since your business, products, target audiences are unique. Add your goals to the spreadsheet.

What will define these goals? A quite straightforward KPIs for ‘create more sales’ would be to look at the revenue generated from your site and the conversion rate. The KPI to monitor the increase of unique users would be the number of unique users to your site. Add these KPIs to your spreadsheet.

Launch Google Analytics and follow these steps for each KPI:

  • Revenue – go to the Conversion Report. Open up the Ecommerce section and click Overview. You should now see the revenue for the set time period.
  • Conversion rate – from the same report you will also see the Ecommerce Conversion Rate for the set time period.
  • Unique users – go to the Audience Report and click on the Overview. You will now see the number of users to your site.

Fill out the number for the months you want to monitor and repeat.

In summary

Voila! This is the start to a life with less blood, sweat and tears. Implementing the above will help you focus, plan and measure – and most likely reach your goals much easier than you would without this tool.

Connecting your objectives with KPIs provides you with a tool not only to measure your results, but also to lead your brainstorm session.

If you want to know more about Google Analytics or start taking data-driven decisions to reach your objectives – don’t be a stranger. Give us a call or send us an email!