Improve Website Performance
If you want to get the best out of something or make proper decisions to improve performance then you have to make measurements. It is fundamental. Without a measurement system you simply do not have the information to know how to make adjustments leading to improvement.
What can a website owner or a blogger learn from Major League Baseball (MLB)?
Here is the latest news from Major League Baseball. We are familiar with (or a least have heard of) Sabermetrics for baseball. Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity and performance.
The newest news from MLB is that they are raising the bar even higher when it comes to performance measurements on the field.
This baseball season, MLB will be making performance measurements using radar and stereo camera systems. The radar system used has been adapted from military ballistics testing and measures the ball’s position up to 20,000 times per second. It can even track the seams on the ball to calculate its spin. Above the third-base line, two sets of cameras stitch together a stereoscopic view of the field to determine every movement that occurs in a play on the field.
To read the full article in Wired Magazine click here.
The same kind of measurement prowess can be applied to your website and blog. Google Analytics is a free and very capable tool that can be installed on your website or blog for performance measurements. The result will be that you gain insights into what people do when the visit your website or blog and furthermore you will gain an understanding of what is working and what is not.
To miss the opportunity to improve the performance of your website or blog is a big miss.
Here is an example:
Let’s say that you set up an e-mail that was designed to bring people to a special landing page specifically for the e-mail. Moreover, let’s say that the e-mail produces 1,000 visits to the landing page.
The key objective of the landing page is to get people to download a free copy of your special report or guide. You also estimate that if someone is interested in your special guide presented on your landing page that they will spend 45-60 seconds scanning and reading the page. If they are very interested then you estimate this time-on-page could be 2 minutes.
Here are some things that would be worth measuring:
- Bounce rate percent
- Percent of people moving to the next step you want them to take. Also defined as conversion rate
- Time on page
- Pages they go to on your site if they leave the landing page to study your business in more detail
In addition, if you are promoting the landing page in multiple places (facebook, LinkedIn, collaborator websites, Twitter . . .) you can also measure which places are generating the most traffic and can measure the same metrics as defined above for each traffic channel.
Your objective, however, is not simply to make measurements but to improve performance. What if after making observations and conducting an experiment or two you can double your conversion rate for this landing page? If so then this would be equal to doubling your traffic (with the original conversion rate). It may be easier for you to double the conversion rate than to double your traffic. Moreover, once you improve your conversion rate each increase in traffic becomes more valuable to you. Your landing page becomes more efficient.
If you have a conversion rate of 1% then 10 people would download your guide (based on 1000 visitors). If you were to do some experiments and make observations and could increase the conversion rate to 2% then this would, in effect, be like doubling the level of traffic. However, this also means that you would need to increase the size of your mailing list by a factor of two to double the number of visitors. This is easy to say but harder to achieve.
We need to be a bit more like MLB and determine how to measure the performance of our key players. Three of our key players are our website, our blog and our specific “specialist” (a landing page).
There is a recent movie (released 2011) called Moneyball. In this movie the main character (played by Brad Pitt) applies Sabermetrics to gain a greater understanding of how to produce wins (and not spend big money on a payroll to do it.).
We need to use a measurement system that helps us to understand what will result in “wins” for our website, blog and landing pages (and not spend big money to do this).
We can use Google Analytics. It is a website or blog’s Sabermetrics.