For the most part, being a small business generally means your finances aren’t as plentiful as some of your larger competitors and therefore it’s imperative that you do as much as possible to make the most of the finances you have available.
A perfect example of this is with the introduction of a new website, page or blog, as while it may seem like a relatively straightforward process, the truth is it’s extremely important you are able to measure the success of the new feature, so to ensure it wasn’t wasted outgoings.
While each small business is likely to determine the success of a new website, page or blog in various ways, the following information should provide you with a structure by which to use as a base to determine success.
1. Install in-depth analytics software
Before you begin trying to measure any type of success with a new website, page or blog, you need to be certain that you can actually capture and analyse as much data as possible.
There are numerous pieces of data analysis software out there – some free, some requiring a membership – but whichever one you choose, it’s imperative that it gives you access to the data you require, from the length of time each visitor was on the website to which link they clicked, if any, to leave the page that they were on.
2. Split test
A favourite for many organizations and industries, split testing is essentially the process of putting two different items in front of two different audiences who are expecting the same item.
From split testing, you can quickly identify, for example, which of two new pages on your website is going to be the most successful.
Working in a relatively easy way, you essentially load both of the new pages onto your website, both of which feature exactly the same content but in this instance, may vary slightly in terms of design.
Whenever visitors click on a link to, for instance, ‘New Page 1’, 50% of them are sent to ‘New Page 1 – A’ and 50% of them are sent to ‘New Page 1 – B’, with the visitor activity data analysed from both and the most successful page then able to be taken forward to be used solely across the website.
3. Monitor the data regularly
One of the most common errors made by small businesses when trying to judge the success of any online activity is that they don’t allow a sufficient length of time to capture the data.
While one of your large competitors may be able to split test in a day or two as they receive several thousand visitors to their website each day, if you’re only receiving a few dozen, it’s going to take longer.
However, it isn’t the length of time that’s important – you just need to be certain that you’ve got a sufficient amount of data to analyse so that you can make the best decision possible.
Being a small business owner requires a lot of skills in various different areas, but for many, ensuring a new online aspect is successful and worth its money isn’t one of them – yet it’s something that all business owners need to spend the time understanding so they’re certain they’re using their money in the best way possible.
This post was originally featured on January 24, 2012.