If you own a small business, and you have any kind of presence online, there will always be some little angel sitting on your shoulder alerting you that your website “could be better.”
• You could add more content;
• You could improve the design;
• You could drive better traffic to the site using social media;
• You could make the website more SEO friendly;
• You could improve the site’s conversion;
• You could replicate what’s working on other sites;
• You could sell the site;
Since you are running a business — and not just pondering a philosophical question about “how great can my site get?” — you need to silence that angel sitting on your shoulder on a fairly regularly basis. There is time and a place to futz with the design, with the content, and with other features of the website. But you want to avoid distracting yourself and your team from your core competencies, unless you absolutely need to manage the site in a more strategic fashion.
How do you know when to listen to that little voice and when to shut it out?
Here are some relatively objective strategies:
• Find and measure the core metric by which you will measure the site’s success. Maybe the site exists to convert four to five leads a month for your business. Or maybe you want to generate 10,000 plus original views a months for your online magazine or blog. To avoid getting distracted and pulled in a thousand places, you need to define this metric – whatever it is – and then track the site’s results with respect to it. If your goal is to convert four to five new customers every month through the website, it doesn’t matter whether you are getting massive traffic spikes due to social media, because you’re putting up really interesting blog posts. If you are not converting, you are not converting. Period. End of story. So focus on the core metric!
• It’s time to act if you (or your members of your team or customers) have repeatedly, chronically expressed frustration with the website. It’s one thing to stumble across a powerful, compelling new product that could potentially improve your website and get momentarily distracted thinking about how that product could turn your site into a viral hit. It’s another thing to ruminate nearly obsessively over the defects of your web presence or to get regular negative feedback from your customers about the site. If your problem is the former – you’re attracted by glitzy baubles and fancy software — restrain your urges to noodle with the site. If the problem is the latter, it’s time to pay attention!
• You’ve picked up early indicators that your site is trending down with respect to critical metrics. Your core metric may be doing fine – i.e. you may still be bringing in four to five new customers a month – but your other “indicator lights” suggest that all is not well. For instance, maybe your number of organic visitors has been dropping by a few hundred every month. Or maybe Google just switched up its algorithms, throwing your once relatively popular blog into the sandbox. Think of these as early warning lights in your car that indicate that your gas tank might be tapping out or that tires need to be changed. Then remedy your design, content or SEO situation as appropriate.