Effective Websites & Website Effectiveness

A website’s effectiveness is the efficiency with which a visitor to a web site can achieve the goals of both, their own as well as that of the website.
Before you can measure a web site’s performance you need to know the objective of the website. A website’s objective might be to provide information, sell items, educate, supplement/compliment existing off-line services, serve a community, etc. Of course it might be to provide a combination of these - for example a website might provide information about a product, sell that product and provide support for that product.

Once you know the objective of your website, you need consider:
  • Is the buyer likely to buy from a website in the first place?
  • Do you need to educate the buyer about the product?
  • Do you expect the buyer to contact you offline before purchasing? If yes, then does your website clearly show your contact details?
  • Does the website provide enough information to proceed to the next step?
  • ‘A picture says a thousand words’ the popular saying says – does your website provide appropriate pictures?
  • Is it clear to the buyer where all the relevant information is as each step?
  • Is the buyer comfortable buying from your website? (trust & confidence in your company, SSL, etc)
  • Is the sales cycle years, months, weeks or days long?
  • Does you website support the length of cycle? (eg does you site need to provide a way to save a basket for use upon the visitor’s return?
  • Is the buyer told what he/she can expect after a purchase has been made?• Does the website provide a payment type that the buyer is likely to use?

These are only some of the issues to consider. Think from the buyer’s point of view to realize other issues that will be important to your customer.

You now need to consider if the website’s contents match the sales process and the buyer’s needs:

  • Ensure that the content proportionally matches the buyer’s needs. Don’t provide too little (nor a flood of) information. If you need to, separate information in a logical manner using more than one web page (or a PDF) if necessary
  • Ensure the website navigation is laid out in a way that suits the buyer’s needs
  • At the same time the website needs to be follow industry formats (don’t be too radical or you’ll alienate your buyers)
  • Where the buyer is likely to have a reason for not buying, provide information to: a) Let the buyer know that these issues have been taken into your consideration b) Let the buyer know that you have answers to his/her issues

If possible, get feedback buy asking customers about their experience. Get people to evaluate your site – formally will be best though you might have to pay. If you have to pay, then consider professionals in this area.

Making your website effective in this way will help to convert more of your visitors into buyers.