It used to be that having a website was a ‘necessary evil’ for a busines or organization; maybe even a ‘fun’ thing to do. As time went on website owners started demanding more from their websites, even as web designers were more focussed on the possibilities that new technologies made available.
Today businesses and not-for-profit organizations alike are looking for ways to measure their website’s return on investment. Good web designers appreciate this and have numerous tools at their disposal. Measuring the effectiveness of your website is a good thing, whether the language you use is ‘good business’ or ‘good stewardship of resources’.
One benchmark and area of expertise is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Getting to the top of search engine rankings and staying there takes attention and diligence. Truly, a website that works is a website that’s worked. And while organic rankings are the ‘holy grail’ of SEM, many business benefit from purchasing pay-per-click ads, such as Google Adwords. More and more of our clients are wisely experimenting with Google Adwords because, since you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, an adword campaign guarantees additional visits to your website.
But what happens when they get to your website? Do they find what they’re looking for? Do they buy, or call, or fill out the contact form? Another important benchmark is conversion rates – the rate at which visitors to your website become customers or members. An adsense campaign is waisted if when they get to your website they don’t get what they’re promissed, or they’re turned off by what they see — or don’t see. I’ve written before about website design and accessibility. A good web designer and a wise website owner will work together to make sure that the site accomplishes the goals set out for it – and that the goals are measureable and reporting available.
And here’s the real challenge: you can only get a return on your investment if you invest! Many business and organizations don’t have an adequate budget for their website or other Internet communication, if they have a budget at all! The Internet is a powerful tool that can be used to deliver service, connect with members or employees, and build business – and it’s not a toy anymore. Websites can be a significant part of a business plan, and can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Judging from the number of phone calls and website enquiries we’ve received lately, many companies are choosing to re-invest in their Internet presence – which is good for us… and even better for them!