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Don’t Ignore What Data Tells You About Your Website Design

Matt NemethGuest Post by Matt R. Nemeth. Matt is a Digital Marketing Manager at Brandcast. You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn.

Building a website is a lot of work. To make a great site, it takes highly sophisticated crews of people; designers, engineers, marketers, data scientists, and more. The project needs to be scoped, profiled, architected, and – if the stars are aligned – executed. The page goes live, traffic pours in, we sit back and enjoy. The site is complete. Our content is up, the images are in place, and our lives are on track.

Sure. We can just relax now. The website is perfect!

Right, but then we need to make sure; we need to measure our successes against our failures. Our data analysts pour through the traffic, discerning the good from the bad, the spam from the authentic; they separate the wheat from the chaff, and land their prognosis.

They’ve run the numbers. That really swanky image slider on the top of your homepage? Nobody is using it. Turns out, less than 1% of your site’s visitors even click on it. Of that 1%, 89% (that’s basically the whole percent) clicked on the first image in your gallery of five. Those other four images, hidden behind the opaque dots at the bottom of that splash, are obfuscated by a web trend that died out years ago. Your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.

Those analysts, though, they’re not done. That was just the tip of the spear, and they’re still busy plunging the shaft into your heart.

You filled your site with really cool – albeit gimmicky – dynamic text loaders that generated content on the fly based on search queries or landing pages. Or sans that, you loaded them up with flashy images – not Flash, we all know that ship has sailed – and tried the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” ploy. Problem is, it’s thin. Nobody is engaged on these pages, and your users are bouncing through the roof.  So, you need to ramp up your static content creation and push that, too.

Take a breath. Remember, your site is beautiful. Aesthetically, it’s creme de la creme, and nobody can take that away from you. You had the best designers in the industry, and they did wonders with the resources you gave them. Those resources, though…

Well, you cut corners, and didn’t want to spend on custom art. Stock photos and art have become so cheap and accessible, that everyone is using it. Web Design and StatsYour header image is shared with your neighbors son’s video game blog.  So, this beautiful website, this ideation that you spent so much time and resources putting together; it’s not truly unique. It shares its virtual genes with 100,000 other sites out there on the web, homogenized by sloth and easy access.

It keeps rolling downhill though.

Your site and all the bells and whistles – the sliders, the oversized images, the custom font, the audio track of Auld Lane Syne – takes upwards of 14 seconds to load. Yeah, in the bubble of a perfect world, it looks great. Problem is, your visitors left 11 seconds ago. Your users on mobile devices just smashed their handhelds in anger and frustration as they began to smoke and fizzle under the strain.  Nearly 40% of web users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Don’t get mad at the Data Analyst. Give her a raise. She just pointed out the major cracks in your armor. It’s time to step back, data in hand, and reassess your assumptions. It’s time to be an agile website, responsive to your users needs, and adaptive to change. Turns out, that website you thought would last a few years needs to be redone, again, and fast.

It’s okay. Help is here.

Website creation platforms like Brandcast are great solutions to the problems that you, and many of your contemporaries, are facing every day. High-velocity website marketing means responding to data, adapting to change, and surfing that trend line – having the ability and technology in place to sidestep the barriers and gain entry into an ever evolving space – all in real-time.

With the right tools, building a website is no longer an uphill battle. It is a cathartic process where nothing stands in the way of realizing an artistic vision. It’s time to Brandcast your content and leap ahead of your competition.

*Statistics referenced are from WSI