Brittney Sheffield / Digital Strategy / April 22nd, 2014

5 Sites Website Owners Should Read Weekly

We know that it’s difficult to find enough time in the day to do more than stay on top of your daily routine, but it’s important to make time to stay up to date on industry news and the performance of your own website. The digital industry changes more frequently than the seasons. If you’re going to stay ahead of the curve, you need to take a proactive approach to monitoring your website’s performance and its place in the competitive landscape. And luckily you can do it with just about an hour each week.

Here are five sites you should make a habit of reviewing or reading on a daily or weekly basis to keep your website in fighting trim.

Your Site’s Analytics

You should review your website’s analytics on a weekly basis at the very least. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the wealth of data that your Analytics software can provide, take time to check these key areas to diagnose any potential issues or opportunities.

Goal Funnel Visualization in Google Analytics.
Goal Funnel Visualization in Google Analytics.
  • Top Landing pages – Look for changes in page performance. This may indicate that you need to make updates to a page that is no longer performing as well as it used to or you may want to highlight different services your business offers if you notice those landing pages are performing better at different times of year.
    • It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the Bounce Rate and Time On Page for key landing pages to determine if a page is experiencing technical issues or if you need to revamp the page’s content. Remember, as a general rule, page load times should be less than 4 seconds.
  • Goal Funnels – Review your Goal Funnels in Analytics to determine which, if any, steps are seeing a large drop off or causing conversions to slip. If you can identify the steps in your funnel that are causing issues early you can make adjustments quickly to prevent dips in your conversion rates.
  • Campaigns – Monitor which online tactics are working for your business by tagging the URL and then analyzing its success. This can help you shape your digital strategy and get a clear picture of what is working and what needs to be adjusted.

When you take the time to do a deeper dive, use this list of Google Analytics terms to help guide you through the other aspects of your site that you should be analyzing.

Your Competitors’ Websites

If you’re really interested in staying ahead of the curve you need to be aware of your competition. Visit your competitors’ sites and look at them from your customer’s perspective. What are they doing well? What are you doing better? What questions are they answering that your business is not? It’s important to remember that just because a site is “pretty” doesn’t mean it serves the users needs. Don’t get caught up on the aesthetics of a site. Think critically about how your business can outshine your competitors from a user-experience perspective.

Industry Publications

Frequently review industry trends so that your business can leverage opportunities that will benefit your customers. For instance, if you’re in a regulated industry like finance and a new law will create a beneficial program for consumers – act fast and make a well-optimized landing page to capture the traffic that will result from it. If you can see a trend coming and get ahead of it, your business can see great benefits. On the flip side, if you notice an industry or environmental trend that will negatively impact your business down the road, brainstorm ways to counteract the external factor so that your company doesn’t suffer.

 Business Reviews

Whether it’s Yelp reviews, Google Reviews or something else you should regularly keep track of what people are saying about your business. If the reviews are positive find a way to leverage that feedback to use it as social proof for potential customers. This could include adding positive feedback to a Testimonials area of your site or creating social media posts. If you encounter negative reviews you can work to address that feedback by contacting the person who left the review or highlighting ways your business has improved the customer experience that was previously sub-par. Under most circumstances you never want to delete negative reviews. Instead find a way to quickly and genuinely address the customer’s concerns.

the-top-yelp-review

MarketingProfs

MarketingProfs.com delivers a wide range of marketing-related content in several different formats. If blog posts aren’t your style, check out the podcasts, tutorials or tools that MarketingProfs uses to present its content. From brand management to email marketing,  writing to market research, you’ll find something on MarketingProfs that will expand your online marketing toolkit. In addition to their regular site content you can also attend training and events. There are many marketing and content blogs out there, so explore a handful of sites to see which delivers the best content for your business.

Photo Credit: Patrick Q via Compfight cc

  • http://352inc.com Lincoln Anderson

    May be a dumb question, but what makes a page a “landing page” in marketing parlance? Is it any popular entry point to the site, or does it need to be have specially designed layout? Along the same lines, would you recommend watching for highly trafficked pages, and then redesigning those to be more visual or portal-like, or is it better wisdom to leave a well-performing page alone?

    • Brittney Sheffield

      A “landing page” in terms of Google Analytics is an entry point or the first page visited by a site user. So a “top landing page” would be those who have the most visitors landing there first before (hopefully) browsing other areas of your site. It could also be important to analyze pages you want people to be landing on even if those aren’t the “top” performing pages in analytics. I’d look for things like bounce rate, time on page, and exit rate from there (all things found in Google Analytics).

      If you’re making changes to a landing page I’d suggest gradual change so you can measure what edit truly made the positive or negative impact. There is always room for improvement so while a well performing page probably shouldn’t be completely redesigned unless absolutely necessary tweaks are encouraged.

      • http://352inc.com Lincoln Anderson

        That’s a good tip about gradual changes, especially if a PO wants to make sweeping changes to a critical page. Thanks!