Just as we seek ways to improve our personal health and well-being, looking at ways to improve the health and performance of your website is key to digital longevity.
It’s easy to let this slip when you’re running full-speed into the high season, have a handful of staff to manage and are juggling changes in budgets.
Yet its clear to see those dominating the tourism landscape can attribute at least some of their success to powerful online marketing strategies and sleek websites. Take a look at latest website redesigns for Whakarewarewa or Rotorua Canopy Tours. They’re taking the charge in terms of digital leadership and we look forward to seeing how their online strategies evolve over the coming months.
So how can YOU understand the health of your website? What key performance indicators should you be monitoring and what do they tell you about your digital performance?
Indicators of a Healthy Website
High Domain Authority
While this title refers to a ‘domain’ it actually has little to do with your sites domain name and servers. It was created by a business called Moz that ranks your website performance on a scale of 1-100. The higher your domain authority (DA) score the better it ranks in search engines.
This metric is particularly useful when evaluating competition. If your competitor has a higher DA score they will likely appear before you in a search engine. It is also worth analysing when thinking about businesses or bloggers you would like to partner with in the digital space – websites with a higher DA are obviously better choices for partnerships as their site will have more traffic and credibility. You can use tools like Moz to check other sites ranking.
Improving your own DA score requires a similar strategy to when you’re working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The more inbound links and quality content you have, the faster your site loads and the stronger your social media accounts are can all contribute to your overall DA score. Learn more about SEO and Content Marketing best practice here.
Strong Referrals from Organic Traffic
Organic traffic refers to any visitors to your website received from non-paid traffic sources. This may include search engines, social media and link referrals from other websites. While there are many components that contribute to how much organic traffic your website receives, the main influence is going to be your SEO strategy.
Make sure to use relevant keywords throughout your site and continue to work on how your business ranks for different keywords. The higher you site ranks, the more organic traffic you will receive. Having more than 50 per cent of your visitors arriving from organic sources is considered healthy. You don’t want to rely too heavily on paid marketing campaigns in case legislation, costs and other outside influences change which may negatively impact your business’ online performance.
Highly Engaged Visitors
Getting visitors to your website is one thing, keeping them there is another. If your home page has a high bounce rate (when visitors leave your website shortly after visiting) it may be a sign that you need to improve your landing experience for customers, and create content that can keep them engaged. A healthy website has landing pages that are optimised for each stage of the consumer journey, has content that is considered useful for the user and has clear calls to action which tell the user what they should do.
A High Conversion Rate
While engaged website visitors are great, the ultimate goal is to convert them into paying customers. There’s no point delivering all this awesome content, if we then can’t convert that into revenue. A few strategies for improving your conversion rate may include:
- Creating dedicated landing pages for your PPC adverts
- Include testimonials to act as ‘social proof’
- Use clear calls to action – “subscribe now”, “make a reservation”
- Run A/B tests to identify areas for page & content optimization
- Match the style of your copy to your audience
Signs that your website is under-performing
Slow Loading Speed
Most website visitors expect a page to load in under two seconds. Even a one second delay in load time can cause a higher bounce rate. To improve your page load time ensure that all images on your site are optimised for the web, and that you have fast servers and website hosts.
Also watch out for any scripts or coding that could slow your website down – some WordPress plugins are notorious for this. If your website is content-rich it’s also worth prioritising what content shows ‘above the fold’ when your page first loads – to ensure your key messaging is not missed.
In order for visitors to convert, they first need to find their way around your website. If your navigational structure is messy or unclear to the consumer it’s more likely they’ll get lost within your content or immediately bounce. A few ways to make your site more navigable include:
- Having Good Page Hierarchy: Ensure that your website menu is well organized. Avoid having too many pages on your website or child pages that are buried deep within your content. Booking pages need to be clearly labelled as such.
- Following a Progression of Ideas: your content should begin with a more general description of what your business offers and become more specific as the reader scrolls down or clicks through to deeper pages. It sounds like a no-brainer but it would surprise you how often this method is not followed.
- Great Page Design: Ensure your website is mobile responsive and that your fonts are not too small. Use font colours that contrast from the background and visual elements and imagery to help break up your text.
- Call-to-Actions: Make it easy for visitors to take the next step by including clear calls to action. Tell them exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s subscribe, book or make an enquiry.
A High Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate typically indicates poor loading time or a bad landing page experience. A well-designed home page or PPC landing page is crucial to engaging website visitors in the first instance. Take a look at your bounce rate in Google Analytics – Behaviour – Overview. Anything under 50% is good; a little higher is acceptable on mobile.
Duplicate content is content that appears on the web in more than one place. If the same content appears on your website multiple times it is duplicated. If your content has been published elsewhere on the Internet previously, then it’s also duplicated.
Duplicate content gets penalised by Google’s algorithms and impacts your page rank. Moreso, search engines find it difficult to determine which version of the content is “truth” – and are subsequently forced to choose only one version of the content to display. This dilutes the visibility of any subsequent pages. The easiest way to avoid this happening is to ensure everything that appears on your site is original content.
How to monitor website health
Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most common and easy tool for measuring your websites performance.
The most important metrics for you to monitor include:
- Traffic sources
- Time spent on site
- Bounce Rate
- Page Load Speed
- Conversion Rate
- Ensure you’re using the right technology
A well-managed CMS (Content Management System) is important to maintaining website health. Ensure you are using an up to date version and that it is compatible with mobile devices. There are also many SaaS applications that can help you optimise your website. Moz is a great tool for SEO. Optimizely is a great tool for testing the quality of your website content. Some of these tools are available for a subscription fee though many of them are free.
Regular specialist agency review
We understand that managing websites can be complicated. Becoming an expert at design, SEO and content marketing all while trying to dominate the local tourism landscape is a feat near impossible. That’s why a regular review from a digital agency specialising in tourism is key. The first thing we do as part of our digital strategy service is review the performance of your current site. Learn more here.