5 Ways to Tell If Your Website is Working

yes baby fist pumpHow’s your website doing things days?

Good question. And one most organizations can’t answer.

Most organizations evaluate their website based on a mysterious hodge-podge of subjective opinions and anecdotal evidence. Like…

  • Aunt Wilma said she went to your website but she got an error when she tried to download your cover of What the Fox Say
  • We’ve only gotten 1 new subscriber to our newsletter this week, something must be wrong
  • Somebody told the senior pastor they think our site looks terrible
  • Well, I think it looks fine

We can do better than that!

Here are 5 objective ways to tell if your website is working

1) Measure traffic – Integrate an analytics program like Google Analytics into your website. Then check your traffic stats regularly. Is the number of visitors growing? Are you getting a good percentage of returning visitors?

2) Track online goals – What are the main online goals for your website? Do you want to grow newsletter subscribers? Sell products or services? Analytics can help you track these things over time so you can tell if your visitors are doing what you want them to do.

3) Track offline goals – One of the primary goals for a church website is to encourage people to check out a Sunday service. There’s no way to track this goal online, so you’ve got to do some offline work. One of the best ways to do this is by having people fill out a communications card and tracking how many visitors are coming from various sources. Same is true for schools, brick-and-mortar businesses, and other non-profits. It takes effort, but its essential.

4) Survey – It’s a good idea to regularly survey your subscribers, customers, users, etc about your online communications. Ask them to rate your site. Ask what you could do to make it better.

5) Do usability testing – Bring a few volunteers into your office, ask them to do certain things on your website and then observe. Make notes of what confuses them, where they got stuck, and what they like about your site. For more see Quick and Easy Usability Testing

What are you using to evaluate the effectiveness of your website?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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