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Website Success: Is it all about Traffic?

During the early days of the Internet when most websites were considered nothing more than glorified advertisements for an offline business, success was naturally measured by how many people visited the website. However, with the advances in ecommerce, blogs, and social media,  “hits” are no longer the only barometer for a website’s success.

For example, if you have a blog, wouldn’t you consider the amount of time that a visitor spends just as valuable as the number of hits? There are three ways that you can measure this. The first is by measuring the time in seconds,  minutes or hours. This directly connects to measuring the page views per visit so you can determine if your visitor is not only reading your latest article, but also viewing your archive.  Lastly,  measure the rate of returning visitors. Having a modest, but very loyal valuing counts just as much as having thousands or millions of hits.

Also, you should consider the impact of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter on your website. By adding a Facebook “share” or “like” button in key sections of your website, you will be able to track how many people are recommending your website to others. Your website has the potential to enjoy exponential growth because of this, since this link is going to be seen by everyone in this person’s network of friends.

Another possible way to measure your website’s success is by determining “conversion” or  the effectiveness of your call-to-action buttons and links. Whether it’s a  simple “donate now” or “subscribe” button, or a special promotion, counting the number of clicks versus the number of hits helps you determine whether or not these calls-to-action are effective, and if the clicks are low, then you will be able to take the necessary adjustments to improve it.

It is now also possible for you to monitor the amount of word of mouth that your website and your brand is enjoying on Google. By entering your brand, company name, URL and other words specific to your business on Google Alerts, you will be able to receive emailed updates  of the number of times you have been mentioned in news, web, blogs, video and discussion groups.

Lastly, if you are running an e-commerce website, then obviously the best way to measure your website’s success is measuring the actual amount of business that you are getting. But you need to measure it correctly. To calculate revenue, calculate the amount that you earn versus amount that you spend on your website in maintenance and promotions.  If you spend $500 a month on your website and make $1,000 a month, then that means your ROI per month is 200%.

So a website’s success is not all about traffic. In the long run, it’s about finding a niche, building a strong network, enjoying a loyal following, and business results.

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