Is your website alive and working? I don’t just mean is it up-and-running for the world to see. I mean, is it really helping you generate more income and helping you grow your business?
Think about it. A stuffed animal just sits there so people can look at it. But that doesn’t make it alive and doing its thing. However lifelike it might seem, you can tell just by a glance that there’s nothing behind those glazed eyes. It doesn’t really DO anything.
You need to be able to check that your website isn’t just sat there like a stuffed animal for people to look at. You need to be able to measure how well it’s performing and that the money you invested in it was worth every penny.
And if your website is just sat there without a pulse, it’s hard to know what damage it could be doing to your brand. Do you want your brand to look weathered and out-of-date, or fresh and ready for business?
So here are 4 simple questions you can ask yourself to help check your website for signs of life.
#1. Has the number of new contacts you get through the website increased?
A website has to convert visitors into new contacts and new business.
Attracting people to see what you have on offer is all well and good, but if they don’t turn into new contacts or even paying customers, it’s not working well enough.
They don’t have to be paying customers straight away, but once they’ve left your website and contacted the people behind the website, you’ve a better relationship. From that you can sell your products and services.
So think about how many new contacts or customers you’ve made as a result of your website. Not how many have visited your pages, but how many you have had a conversation with in person, over the phone, or via email.
#2. Have you made more money than it cost to make your website?
If you’ve spent a good sum of time and money on building a website, it makes sense to expect that you’ve made more money as a direct result.
A basic website can typically cost anything from £500 to £10,000. And certainly with the bigger investments, you don’t just want to settle for covering your costs with the extra business it generates.
You want it to be growing your business, bringing in significantly more money than it cost to build. For the next few years or more!
So don’t just look at the books and see how much money you’ve made since your website went live. Look at how much money you’ve made where the website was directly involved, whether through products sold online, or customers that have bought from you after visiting your website.
There are other things that make a website successful that don’t directly convert to sales. But if the numbers don’t look great, you’re website isn’t working hard enough, so maybe it’s time for a rethink.
#3. Do people find you at the top of Google searches for relevant, useful search terms?
There’s no question that your website will be a much more valuable tool if it ranks on page 1 of Google. You’ll bring more new visitors and create more new contacts. And you’ll be able to answer the previous question with a smile.
But a poorly designed website just sitting there with stale and boring content might struggle to get close to page 1, especially if you have lots of competition.
That means many more potential customers will visit the websites of your competitors.
The fact is, if your website isn’t alive and kicking, using the right tools in the right way, Google won’t realise it exists. And that seriously limits the value your website can add to your business.
#4. Do people contact you saying your website sets you apart from your competitors?
Now before you say anything, I know people aren’t going to just ring you up out of the blue and say, “Hey, loved your website by the way. Really sets you apart from your competitors!” and put the phone down.
But if your website really has some character and stands out from the same old websites in your industry, people will say so. They’ll be impressed, and be happy to tell you.
And if you stand out from your competitors, visitors will come to you first.
They will also get this strange feeling of déjà-vu, like they’ve spoken to you before. Because a website that’s alive will show people your brand, your character, how you work and what you do.
So when they finally speak to you, you’ve already made the first impression and started building a relationship.
Awesomeness you can’t measure
Don’t forget all the things that are really difficult to measure. It’s hard to know just how much of an impact your website has on future sales and those people who aren’t ready to buy just yet.
It could be that your amazing website got the attention of a friend of a friend who wasn’t looking for what you did, but knew someone who was.
And simply having a website you're proud of - one that expresses your brand, character and services - gives you the confidence to share it with others, and that confidence is attractive to your potential customers.
The possibilities of the good it could do are endless.
So start looking for signs of life with these 4 questions and give yourself an honest answer. If it is alive, you can be confident that it’s working well on the things you can and can’t quite measure as easily.
If it’s alive, keep it that way. But if it’s looking a bit under the weather, it might be worth giving it some TLC and get it back to full fitness.