Monitoring and measuring your website performance: From Google Analytics to A/B Testing


In my experience at ByAllAccounts, many advisors have asked how they can better understand website activities, and improve their website performance. It’s an important question, because as Jonathan Bentley, Executive Vice President of InvestCloud, stated in a previous blog, “We are now well into the time when a firm’s website is the single most cost effective marketing and client service tool available.  For that reason, advisors and money managers are starting to take their sites more seriously than ever before.”

As advisors seek to maximize the effectiveness of their websites (see also results from our national Marketing and Business Development survey summary, 74% of advisors rated their website as ineffective for client acquisition), one of the first questions they ask is how to monitor and measure activity on their website. Here are two solutions that give them this visibility:

1. Use Google Analytics to track website activities

Many advisors have found it useful to use Google Analytics to:

● Gain an Audience Overview: Google Analytics enables you to gain a basic sense for your website activities such as traffic load (number of visits, unique visitors), engagement (page / visit, Avg. visit duration), and the ratio of new visitors and returning visitors. So you know who’s on your site and how often, which is essential for determining how successfully you’re driving visitors to your site.

● Understand website traffic:
-- Generate a list of heavy traffic pages
-- Use “navigation summary” to find top previous pages and next pages for top traffic pages, and then try to find main traffic flows
-- If you have a blog section (see the ByAllAccounts blog), make use of “Content   Drilldown” to find your hot blogs

The result: You’re able to track where on your site your visitors are going and what’s appealing to them most. This is a vital step in being able to tailor your content to their needs.

2. Put an even more advanced idea to use—like A/B testing

Once you master Google Analytics, you may want to think about a more advanced option, such as website A/B testing. A/B testing enables you to analyze heavy-traffic pages to improve web page performance.

First, a definition: Website A/B testing is randomly driving website traffic to one of two destinations—50% to one (A), and 50% to the other (B)—to see which one performs better. For example, which of two pages generates more requests for information from prospects?

Just a few years ago, A/B testing your own website would have sounded daunting, since it required web development skills and an IT team. The good news is that technology has advanced dramatically and provides powerful new testing tools. Right now, at ByAllAccounts, we use Optimizely software to A/B test different web page ideas. We’re able to test things as radical as totally different designs, or as small as a call to action button that prompts visitors to click to download a report.
A/B testing allows you to split the traffic so that a segment of the visitors will get the original design, and the rest will see the test version. Over a period of time, when the website has enough traffic, if you notice an obvious difference between the two lines (as the accompanying chart shows), you can tell one version is superior.
 



Complicated? No. Well worth your time and effort? Absolutely.

You may also be interested in:

Strategic Website Design for Advisors: Moving Beyond Text and Images (Blog post by Jonathan Bentley, Executive Vice President, InvestCloud)
 
Survey: Marketing & Business Development Survey Executive Summary (Survey Results)
 
Marketing Techniques and Technology for Today's Advisor (Webinar Replay)   

 

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