Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?
Every business, website, non-profit, or anything else with a product needs to measure success in some form or another. Most use what are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to monitor their production over a given interval. Online, we use programs like Google Analytics or MonsterInsights. An essential factor in measuring success is the ability to be flexible. Some strategies don’t work, and that’s ok! We monitor performance for that exact reason. We want to see where the flaws are and where we can improve. Testing new methods to find more success is the bedrock of a thriving business.
The first question to ask yourself is, “what does success look like?” What are you trying to accomplish? Are you making sales? Do you want to build an email list? Having a clear, defined objective helps direct your website design, campaign strategies, etc. and launching your project is an essential first step. However, no product is perfect right out of the box, and even the best-designed plans can turn out to be duds. The point is to learn from each mistake and build off that experience moving forward.
No one said opening a business or running a website is easy. There is no auto-pilot where you can hit the “easy” button (no matter what Staples says). WPClover has tools to help every step of the way, and we want to collaborate with you to find issues and solve problems. Measuring success is the most crucial step in building a business, and you don’t have to do it alone.
Here are a few strategies to help.
Define your KPIs
Like we said earlier, KPIs are ways to measure performance over time. We want to start with a benchmark, and lay out a reasonable strategy for improvement. We will use a company website as an example. Maybe your current number of unique visits is 1,000 per month. What is a realistic growth expectation for your business on your budget? Key Performance Indicators typically use percentages as measuring sticks. Wanting to leap 1,000 visits to 2,000 visits is a 100% increase. Can you commit to a 100% increase over a specified interval? It depends on your strategy.
Most KPIs tick off several benchmarks along the way. Your overall goal may be a 100% increase in unique visits, but your strategy needs to be more granular to make this goal more achievable. Start with a timeline. Increasing your visits by 100% is a stretch, especially if you’re already getting 10,000+ visits. Try breaking it up into monthly goals where you measure success in bite-sized increments. Some website developers like here at WPClover us a strategy called Agile to break projects up into two-week “sprints” that make large projects more manageable. The same tools apply to set and achieve goals with your website.
For example, let’s say our website gets 10,000 unique visits each month at a bounce rate of 80%. We believe there is room for improvement. Our first step is to set an overall goal. We want to improve our visits to 25,000/month with a bounce rate of 60% or less. The timeline is 12 months. That means to hit our goal, we need to add 1,225 visits and reduce the bounce rate by an average of 1.7% each month. Now we have Key Performance Indicators.
We determined what success looks like. We want a 150% growth in page views and a 25% reduction bounce rate. Our KPIs are broken down into monthly goals of 1,225 new visits and a 1.6% decrease. Without those benchmarks, we won’t know where we stand month over month until the 12-month timeline arrives, and we don’t hit our goal.
The next question is what strategies to employ to hit our numbers and how to make changes if we don’t. This task is the most challenging part of expanding your business. How do we market our business to grow on the pace we want? Do we create a marketing budget to blast out advertising campaigns? Do we shoot for organic SEO growth through fresh posts and video content? How can we mix and match different strategies? The point is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We need a starting point. We need a benchmark
We already discussed using tools like Google Analytics and Monster Insights to monitor performance. We can measure each day and each visit if we want, but given our overall goal, that is a waste of time. Our focus should be on the big picture. Even week over week is not enough of a sample size to see the effects of our strategies. No marketing or advertising campaign doubled profits overnight, so we need patience. This is especially true when trying to grow organically through SEO. We have to set immediate expectations low and watch for SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) ranking increases. More than 90% of clicks come from the first page of search engines like Google.
Measuring success from ads is different. Advertisement opportunities are changing all the time. Formerly, only major companies with large budgets could afford ad campaigns, but with the advent of social media advertising, almost anyone can get started. Facebook, in particular, allows advertisers to target specific demographics and see how many clicks a post is getting organically versus how many are paid. Twitter and Pinterest work in similar ways, but all of them are affordable enough to meet small budgets.
Measuring success means comparing our strategy’s performance against our KPI goals. We can’t blindly hope our website is generating enough traffic to sell a product or build an email list. We need to monitor what is creating valuable traffic. Designing a strategy to set a goal, define key performance indicators, and assign benchmarks is a time-honored and proven plan of action. Creating that plan isn’t easy, but without it, we’re merely throwing darts in the dark.
WPClover is here to help you with website performance. Reach out for a free consultation, and let’s look at what your goals are and how to get there. Our content team is here to help every step of the way.
Ready to see how your website is doing? Try our no-obligation Website Health Check right now!
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