When I look at a site for the 1st time, I look at its “Promises”. What is the site promising the site visitor? Then, is the site delivering on its promises. This starts from the ad or search result that got the user to the site. Do they arrive on a page that fulfills the promise of the search engine (This shows why SEO without strategy is worthless, as it can just create “broken promises”. If you have a decent landing page and are getting more than a 20% bounce rate on it, it is likely caused by “broken promises”. I don’t want this to be an SEO post, but having an integrated SEO strategy is part of Website Optimizing (sending qualified traffic in any way is part of it).
Focus on website optimization as your primary web focus. This starts off by making sure the site is simple and well organized from the user’s perspective. Then it goes further into “giving people what they want”, when they want it and how they want it. It also means spending time on statistics and testing out different things.
Your customers have their own goals when they are your site (forget about your site’s goals for a minute). Once your site is organized from your site audience’s perspective, you need to set up analytic goals and track the “Goal Funnel” to see where visitors are falling off in trying to achieve THEIR goals. Once see where they are dropping off, you can critically look and very likely see why. Then you can fix it.
Now lets talk about your company’s and its site’s goals. These are really just the goals of the site visitor. If you achieve their goals, you will achieve yours. (This needs to become your mantra. Design it from your visitor’s perspective, give them what they want and help them achieve their objectives, you’ll profit from it, have faith).
It is so easy these days to get user testing (See Get Tested) there is no excuse not to watch people trying to achieve their goals on your site on a regular basis. This is the catalyst to website optimization because after watching your target audience trying and failing at core basic stuff, you will be compelled to do something about it.
Your site needs “Core Metrics”. These are what you need to measure. These metrics need to be from analytics, sales (or leads) figures, feedback data, and anything else that you could measure that would show that website optimization is working.