3 Step Year-End Web Site Review

January 3, 2014 | Design Trends, SEO, Web Design

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The turn of the year prompts many of us to analyze what worked over the past year, recognize what has not worked, and then set goals for improving. Your web site, which may be the foundation of your branding and marketing efforts would likely benefit from an end-of-year analysis, too.

Here are 3 important areas to review. I hope you’ll play along and let me know what type of analysis you do.

1. Review your top pages Google Analytics

Hopefully, you have Google Analytics, or another program installed on your web site. It’s hard to do much analysis without it. The great thing about something like Google Analytics is that even if you haven’t looked at the data all year, it’s just sitting there for you to review.

Most popular pages and posts of 2013.

The first thing I like to look at is what pages (or blog posts) have had the most traffic. Here is a peek at my top pages from all 2013. Because of my naming scheme, it’s easy to tell that three of the top four posts were actually written in 2010, and another from 2011 holds a top spot. That one from 2013 is actually now ranking very high, but it wasn’t released until February.

When I look at this, I see that posts that would be categorized as “evergreen” or “cornerstone” content are doing really well. These tend to be very educational and stand the test of time. They can take me a while to develop so I’m glad to see they are paying off.

2. Review where you are getting traffic from

Referrals to our web site

Again, Google Analytics can give you good information about where you are getting traffic from. As you can see, our top source of web traffic is people using Google. The second refers to people directly entering our name or URL. T.co is Twitter’s link shortening service and it seems that Twitter is now our primary social media channel for driving traffic.

Let me give you some stats:

  • Twitter has sent nearly three times as much traffic to our site as Facebook.
  • Google sends six times more traffic to our site then direct does.
  • We spend time sharing our content using DesignNewz, WebDesignNews, Biz Sugar and our email marketing. Those efforts are worthwhile.

3. Review your top pages for messaging and content

As you can see, my home page (listed as #6 or / in the first screen), is an important page. So are the introductory pages of each of our portfolio sections: logos, branding, web, etc.

Now it’s time to get out of Analytics and onto your live site. Take a look at these most popular pages and see that they are really conveying the message you want.

For me, the good news is that people are using the navigation and getting into the sections they want to review. Unlike blog posts, most of these landing pages were probably accessed less by searches and more by people exploring. I can confirm this by looking at my landing pages stats in Google Analytics. None of our portfolio section heads were in the top 25 landing pages.

My goal for this upcoming year is to review each of those pages and make sure that it conveys the message and content I think is key to engaging prospects.

Upgrading your web site for success in 2014

Obviously, these three steps do not cover anything you could review. But it definitely gets you started in the right direction.

Completely overhauling your web site may not be in your plans for the new year. It can be overwhelming and expensive. But if you take the time to see what pages are getting the most traffic you can focus your attention there. It may be time to refresh key pages with new words, graphics, links or videos.

Understanding where your traffic is coming from can be helpful in understanding which of your marketing efforts are working out: SEO-focused upgrades, content sharing, social media, etc.

What are you reviewing and how do you hope to use that information to improve your web site?

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