Today a lot of business is done on the Web. It's where homeowners usually look first to find contracting services. So it's important to have a website that looks good and tells visitors all about your offerings.
But it's also important to know how the site is performing. Here are some useful metrics to see if your site is doing its job.
First, keep things simple. More than anything else, the most important metric to be familiar with is the number of phone calls and e-mails that you receive from the site. The number of customer contacts that result will tell you better than anything else whether or not your site is successful.
But there are other ways to track site performance besides raw leads generated. These include:
To find out where you stand in these areas, the first thing to do is sign up for Google Analytics. This service is free and will provide all the metrics necessary to ensure that the site is working well.
When a homeowner comes to your site, that's a "site visit." As a general rule, the more visits to your website, the better. The number of visitors to your website will tell you how effective your marketing is. Visitors arrive after doing one of three things:
You can easily track the number of visitors to your site. As a basic measurement, the more site visits, the better. It means your marketing strategy is working. But that number's also a little ambiguous. Say a thousand visitors came to your company's website last month. That 1,000 can include repeat visitors, out-of-area visitors, visitors only interested in the prizes of a recent online giveaway, employees and friends who make your Web page their home page, and even competitors scoping you out.
A "page view" happens when a visitor goes to any page on your website. He or she may look at only one page or at every page.
Page views mean different things to different home improvement companies. If a company has more than one product (and, say, a 70-page website) there will be more page views than for a contractor who specializes in one product (and has an eight-page website).
However, to make page views more valuable to your marketing strategy, don't rely on your "Contact Us" page alone to provide visitors with your phone number. Display the number on all of your website's pages. This may result in fewer page views, but it will make it easier for your customers to make contact
Your "bounce rate" measures the percentage of visitors who come to your website but then leave without clicking on any other page.
Every site has a bounce rate and it's often high. Many home improvement sites experience a bounce rate in the neighborhood of 50%. If your rate is significantly higher than 50%, a way to improve the look and feel of the site is to add more interesting content to your pages.
Average Time on Site
How long people remain when they visit your site is important and is measured by "average time on site." That provides an average of the time that your visitors actually spend reviewing your website pages. This can tell you many things about what your visitors seek or what they can't find on your site.
Visitors will spend less time on the websites of home improvement companies that sell a single product. For companies that sell many products, visitors will naturally spend more time because there's more to read. The key to getting homeowners to spend time on your site is having a lot of good content (articles, blogs, and videos) that causes them to stay longer.
Remember, everything that you do or add to your site should focus on helping homeowners find it, see what you offer, and get in touch with you. These website metrics will tell you just how effectively your lead-generation and brand-building strategies are working on the Web.
—Todd Bairstow is a Web marketing expert and co-founder of Keyword Connects, a company dedicated to online lead generation for the home improvement industry. Contact Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781.899.3677.