Website Grade: F

iStock_000006957220XSmallThe past two weeks, we discussed the importance of setting goals for your website, what kind of goals should be set and tracking goals to measure the effectiveness of your website.  So what do you do if you have done all of these things and find that you are not meeting your goals?  Do you ditch the website and start going door to door?  Do you build a new website because your current website isn’t doing the job?

Before taking drastic measures and creating a ton of new work for yourself, there are some steps you should take with your current website to improve its effectiveness.

  1. Usability tests:  Usability tests are simply testing how easy it is to use your website.  To do a usability test, it is best to have someone who is not from your organization test your website.  Those who are a part of your organization may be familiar with your website and the feedback you receive may not be 100% accurate.  Ask the volunteer to perform a series of tasks (ie: listen to the latest sermon, find the boys football schedule, purchase “xyz”).  As they do this, monitor their actions and see if they experience any problems.  Write down any issues they encounter.  After the test is done, ask them questions about their experience and get their feedback.  This unbiased feedback is very important so making improvements on your website.
  2. A/B tests:  An A/B test is offering two different versions of the same webpage to test which webpage performs better.  For example, you could have the same information on each page but include a different button on the bottom for a visitor to complete a conversion.  You can also test different text, colors, or graphics on pages to see which performs better.  Keep in mind, to get accurate results, the only difference on the two versions of the pages being tested should be the one item you are testing.  Once you have enough data from the A/B, you can move forward with the better performing version of the webpage.

Both usability and A/B testing take a reasonable time investment.  Implementing proper A/B testing will also require expertise on how to set up the pages to be tested and how to track the conversion rates of each page.  If you are interested in talking with an expert at OurChurch.Com to help you with these processes, please contact us at support@ourchurch.com.

Have you ever performed usability or A/B tests on your website?  What do you think about the concept?  Please post your comments below and let us know what you think.

Mark Steinbrueck is President and Co-founder of OurChurch.Com. He is a member of Generations Christian Church, a husband and father of 3. He is a huge Cardinals baseball fan and bleeds Garnet and Gold. Find on Google+.

8 Responses to “Website Grade: F”

  1. Great Information!

  2. A/B tests are a great way to learn what is and is not working. Just remember to make small incramental changea.

  3. more great information. Thanks

  4. Easy and interesting!

  5. Testing is mandatory. But never forget that you need quite a number of visits for valid results.

  6. If you are looking to make changes, I would do them gradually and not all at once. Using subtle changes consistently will get you where you want to be.

  7. Usability tests are key to my mind. I am flummoxed as to why more people don't do them. I spend a lot of time online and can't believe how hard it is to find information on a large percentage of the sites I visit.