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Don’t ask me what I think of your site: let’s look at the data

People are always asking me "what do you think of my website?" Here are the metrics you really need to look at if you want your site to be a success.

In his book Pitch Anything, sales expert and author Oren Klaff explains his concept of the “croc brain” and how it affects marketing. The croc brain is the ancient, submerged stem of our psyche that deals with fight-or-flight responses and strong but basic emotions. It isn’t interested in reasoning or logic – it doesn’t have the capacity. The croc brain is about instinctive, reflexive reaction.

I believe it’s the croc brain that’s responsible for a question people ask me all the time: “what do you think of my website?” People hope that those in digital can take one look at their homepage and intuit whether it’s working – whether it feels “right”. 

It’s true that immediate emotional responses have a big part to play in any business’s online presence. In his book Sales Therapy, sales and marketing strategist Grant Leboff coined the term ESPs – “emotional selling propositions” (as opposed to USPs, “unique selling propositions”). 

There’s always going to be an emotional element in any sales or marketing activity. In Leboff’s examples, it’s the difference between selling insurance and selling reassurance, selling scented candles and selling romance. 

When it comes to getting the best results from a digital agency, however, focusing on ESPs is tempting but unproductive, and an easy trap to fall into. 

Why ESPs will only get you so far

A site’s aesthetics are crucially important. Great visuals tailored to your audience’s expectations build a strong foundation. It’s about first impressions. It’s the foot in the door. In digital design, however, we talk much more about user experience and user engagement. The effectiveness of those factors is something best measured using data, not a feeling

Some of the most successful sites in history like Craigslist, Reddit, Wikipedia, and eBay have relied on their excellent (read: simple/practical) user experience despite lacking remarkable visuals. You’ll find plenty of sites that strike a balance, but you won’t find successful sites that excel with a snazzy visual design but without a strong user experience. 

Visuals are important but they’re also highly subjective. There’s never going to be one consistent perception of your site – people just don’t think that way. But if you aren’t asking an agency what they think of your site, what should you be asking them? 

Metrics to measure your site’s success

Here are the most reliable objective metrics you should be using to measure your site’s success:

Content engagement

Engagement with the content on your site can be broken down into 4 main measurable factors:

  • Engagement rate – the percentage of sessions that featured engaged activities, like multiple page views or conversions
  • Bounce rate – the percentage of people that visit a page on your site but don’t take any further action
  • Time on site – also known as session duration, the length of time users are spending on your website 
  • Scroll depth – how far down your pages visitors are scrolling before they leave

Together, this data will give you insight into how users are engaging with your website beyond a superficial level.

Conversions

Conversions are the number of key actions taking place on your website like form submissions, file downloads, or newsletter sign-ups. 

For a B2B service, you would also measure conversions as the number of qualified enquiries that result from visits to your site – how many people or businesses matching your target market are reaching out to you after visiting your site? 

Shareability

Shareability refers to how much people are talking about your business, whether that’s in conversations offline, online in WhatsApp groups, in emails, on social media or more, thanks to your website. 

Shareability is key to raising your brand awareness, and is often achieved through the content you create on your website. People love to share content from brands they trust, so it’s important to create content that provides expertise – either on your services pages or through your blog.

“So, what do you think of my website?”

Answer: what does the data tell you?


More help

For more help learning about the marketing tools that will work for your business, email me at [email protected]

Iain Scott

Iain Scott

Founder & CEO

Iain has a strong background in digital, and brings high-level strategic thinking to client campaigns.

I’ve got plenty to say

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