Understanding Web Performance
In all business, financial performance is a key-criteria to know if a business is successful. The web is no different, but knowing what is good web performance and what is not lies at the heart of good digital impact.
Many digital marketing agencies will provide a snapshot of how many visitors come to the website, how many pages they view, where they are from and so on, but few will use the information to adapt and improve. There are key elements to web performance you must use to drive your brand through to the right audiences.
Knowing where your online audience is from and which geographic areas you want to come to your site drives your digital optimisation adjustments. For example, Dr Torres-Holmes is a specialist ENT surgeon in Sandton, having web traffic from Cape Town has no direct impact on his business. However, targeting Gauteng overall can attract potential patients to the practice.
On the other hand, Smart Waste is a recycling company head quartered in Pretoria, but they have a national footprint. Traffic from Cape Town has proven to generate leads in the Western Cape. Website Café specifically adjusted the site to drive more traffic and leads from Gauteng to boost the potential Gauteng based leads while not ignoring the Cape based audience. This adjustment has driven an increase in business based in Gauteng.
Location based analysis is one thing, but using it to reach your target is essential in achieving your business growth objectives.
How people get to your website informs you of how well your website marketing is achieving its objective. There are a number of digital marketing tools you can use to drive traffic, they range from Google search results to social media and online adverting.
The most relevant item in audience acquisition is Google search-based traffic. This metric informs you if your website keywords, descriptions and website elements are aligned with what your business does. In the Smart Waste example above, the primary key terms across all website content are ‘recycling’ and ‘waste management’, both have proven to be very useful in one of the most competitive sectors in South Africa.
Elect the Council is an advocacy website, it has a global target audience with a specialist interest in the United Nations. This niche market is spread across very diverse platforms, ranging from social media, to special interest websites to direct email. Each element is important to capture the market and are all used in gaining support for the campaign, from effective use of key words, to social media interest group targeting, the website audience acquisition is enhanced by knowing when they are online, where they are online and how they digitally interact.
What people read or view while on your site is a content-based metric that you use to determine what content works and what does not. For example, if you publish an article on a regular bases and the article generates no traffic over an extended period, is it worth continuing? Doubtful. Linking web performance to content will allow you to adjust your web marketing to leverage your content on what the audience actually uses.
It also informs you if your website layout drives the users to the content you want them to engage with. A good example here is Hartzenberg Inc. A law firm in Pretoria that used a national Law Society promotion to build a client base through content related articles. Posting banners to the articles on the home page proved extremely useful for the business. These articles and graphics generated numerous new and dormant client appointments within 12 hours of posting. The web performance, audience behavior and content are all directly related to the business performance and lead generation.
Your website content should match your target audience, yes it sounds obvious but it will surprise you how few companies ignore this metric and focus only on the users and page views. Knowing the audience age group and gender split will show you what content to adjust to attract the right leads.
Cratos Life is an insurance broker, if the audience demographic was 12 to 18-year-olds, the content would urgently need to be adjusted. Simply put, audience demographics and content need to align to your primary target market
There are substantially more metrics you can use to asses web performance and each element should be used holistically to adjust your content in order to generate business leads. Too little focus on the whole will negatively affect potential business growth generated from your digital footprint.