If you’re like a lot of business owners, the last thing you’re thinking about is whether or not your site needs a redesign.
Many business owners don’t have the time to do this themselves, or even think about beginning to search for a web design company. Fortunately, there is a way to find out if it’s time for a “website facelift” with a handy tool known as Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a very easy-to-use tool. It's designed to help webmasters understand how their website is performing by giving them stats on their traffic performance.
Don’t worry, set up is pretty easy — I wrote a simplified post on how to do it here, and you can also go to Google’s support page. It won’t take long to set up, but you will need to have Google Analytics installed and configured to follow this post.
I'm going to share a quick and easy way to find out whether or not you really need a website redesign.
Using Google Analytics
We're going to look at the following data points: average session duration, bounce rate, average pages per visit and conversion rate. These stats let us know how visitors react when they arrive on your website. No emotions involved here; just numbers that are quite simple to interpret.
Below is a short description of the metrics we will analyze with this tutorial-style blog post.
- Average Session Duration — This is the average length of time visitors spend on your website, which includes visits between pages from the moment they enter your site to the moment they leave.
- Bounce Rate — This is the rate at which visitors come and go without ever visiting more than one page. If you have a one-page site, this number will always be 100%.
- Average Pages Per Visit — You probably guessed it: this is the average number of pages visitors will navigate when visiting your website during each session.
To track these types of visitor data statistics, you will need to install a tracking code on each page you want to monitor. If you have this set up, log into your GA account and open up your profile for the website you want to track (if you only have one website, then open up the profile where you see the Audience Overview).
Pulling Reports in Google Analytics
Once your Analytics profile is up, it’s time to drill down into the report that shows the data we're looking for. To view your average visitor session, bounce rate and pages per visit data, navigate to the All Traffic tab by clicking on the main tab labeled Acquisitions on the left side of the screen. Once you click on Acquisitions, click on the sub-menu option labeled All Traffic and you will see a report like the one shown below.
As you can see, the report shows the data points we mentioned in a table broken down by source/medium, i.e. “Google/organic” or “Bing/Organic.” This is one of the reports I use most often to show my clients how their site is performing, and if they need a redesign or not.
You can see in the Average Session Duration column whether your traffic is staying on your site or leaving after only a few seconds, which is a great way to measure site performance. The same applies to Average Pages Per Session. You should have a pages-per-session average that is more than 1.0 (indicating your visitors are going to more than one page each time they visit your site).
Last but not least, the Bounce Rate is a great way to see if your visitors are engaged enough to pursue additional information. If your bounce rate is over 50% that means 50 out of 100 visitors are coming to your site and subsequently deciding they do not wish to go a page further within your website.
Assuming you have pulled your data points and are not pleased with the numbers, you might want to consider giving your website a visual renovation to help increase your traffic quality. If you decide to execute a redesign, you need to be careful; damaging your SEO presence is not hard to do when redesigning a website. I wrote a very detailed post on how to properly execute a website redesign without harming your organic presence on search engines, which I encourage you to read (especially if you’re new to search marketing and planning a redesign).
Tip For Ecommerce Website Owners
There are some great reporting features in Google Analytics for those who own an ecommerce website. You can visit this Google support page which will explain the features you can use in Google Analytics for tracking ecommerce data. You can do things like track revenue and ROI with easy-to-digest KPI reports after you have successfully set up e-commerce tracking.
Why All Websites Need a New Design Once in a While
Back in 1991, the first website was built.
Thanks to invaluable content management systems and plugins, managing a website is a lot easier today. Aside from redesigning your website for the sake of practicality or efficiency, there are many other reasons why you should consider redesigning your website, such as increasing the performance of your marketing efforts.
Your website is your online presence, much like a brick-and-mortar store and its store front. When you grow a successful business, you'll want to build out your website by adding functions to automate processes, manage projects and track sales, etc. This might not be possible with an antiquated website that lacks the ability to seamlessly integrate your CRM with your CMS. Modern website management systems make these types of things possible.
A Poorly Designed Website Can Hurt Your Company
I’ve worked with a lot of business owners whose sites are cumbersome to the growth of their business. The website is often put together in a way that does not appeal to the types of visitors they are intent on driving to the website. Having a site designed to convert visitors into paying customers is what your website is meant to do, but many people don’t understand how to do this correctly.
Making simple tweaks to your website can go a long way. For example, if you were trying to generate phone calls and form submissions, you should make your phone number prominent and your form easily accessible without too many fields.
This is the most basic principle of marketing for local-based service websites. In my experience, almost half of the local-based business owners who contact us for marketing do not have this in place. In some cases, we’ve helped business owners make simple tweaks like this, and it resulted in a significantly increased conversion rate.
Conversion rate optimization should be a main concern to any business owner, as maximizing the conversion rates is a sure way to monetize from your traffic. My colleague Jason Hawkins wrote an extremely detailed blog post on this topic.