The biggest website mistake you don’t know you’re making (and the steps to fix it)

Your company’s new website launched three months ago and the CEO is ecstatic. Your clients love it, too. It’s mobile-friendly, segmented for specific audiences and features rich content that converts.

There’s just one problem.

You didn’t set conversion goals.

Without conversion goals, you won’t know how people are interacting with your site and what actions they’re taking when they do.

Do you want them to sign up for your webinars? Schedule a demo? Subscribe to your e-newsletter? These are conversion goals.

If you haven’t set them up yet, it’s not too late to fix it with a little help from Google Analytics.

You should already have installed Google Analytics on your site. After logging into your account, click on “Admin.”

Next, click on “Goals” under the “View” panel.

Click on the red “New Goal” button.

Let’s take a look at each goal type:

1. Destination
Destination tracks specific URLs. Each time someone goes to that URL, this goal is triggered. It’s ideal for landing pages and confirmation pages, such as when prospects sign up for a product demo and are directed to a “thank you” landing page.

Destination URL (Name): Don’t enter the full URL; only use the portion of the address that comes after the domain. For example, if the full URL is, enter “thankyou.html.” If you don’t have an exact URL, you can change the destination match types in the dropdown menu. Learn more about match types here.

Case sensitive: Check this box if lowercase and uppercase characters in your URL go to more than one page.

Value: You can assign a monetary amount for conversions. Learn more setting value here.

Funnel: The funnel represents the steps prospects must take to convert. For example, to get to a “thank you” landing page, prospects might have to view a landing page and then a sign-up page before they see the thank you page. You would enter the first two steps into the funnel fields, as shown below. Funnels help you identify where prospects dropped off. You can improve the content on those pages to increase conversions.

Required steps: Google Analytics will track visitors in the funnel, no matter where they start out. If you want to make sure the goal funnel counts only people who started on step 1 and completed the goal, check this box.

2. Duration

If you want to measure and increase the time that visitors remain on your site, select the duration option. A general rule of thumb is five minutes.

3. Pages/screens per session

This is the number of pages or screens loaded in a session. You can use this to measure visitor engagement with your content.

4. Event

This is one of the most versatile tools in goal tracking because you can set goals for any visitor interaction on your site, including which links they click on, how much time they spend watching your company videos and what they download. The downside is this goal can be complicated to set and you may need a web developer’s help.

Once you create an event, you can choose conditions that will trigger the goal based on its category, action, label and value.

Learn more at Goggle’s guide to events.

Free intel

Tracking goals provides important insights about the effectiveness of your online marketing strategies, website content and visitor experience. Setting up basic goals isn’t hard and is well worth the time. Google Analytics is free, so there’s no excuse for not installing it on your site.

The next step: Improve your conversion rates

Now that you know how to set conversion goals, let’s look at what you can do to engage people and get them to take action on your site.

1. Make it mobile-friendly. If you don’t optimize for mobile, people will click off your site and go to one that is. You also risk losing out in Google rankings. The company is moving toward a mobile-first index, which means crawling will occur from a mobile browser view rather than a desktop browser first. Start future-proofing your site now.
2. Improve load times. No one will wait for slow-loading pages. Even the difference of a second or two can kill conversions. Test your site performance using the free WebPageTest and then check GTmetrix to get actionable insights for improving load times.
3. Segment your website by audience type. This technique allows you to address the pain points and core needs of each group with highly relevant and engaging content. You can share how-to videos, case studies, blog posts and product spec sheets that make prospects think your content is built for their unique challenges.
4. Keep the juiciest content “above the fold.” Grab attention right away by putting your highest-converting content on the page first. “Above the fold” means people don’t have to scroll down to see the content.
5. Make sure the content is about them – not YOU. Focus on how you solve your prospects’ challenges and be specific – don’t just say you “can” help them. Show your solutions and explain how prospects will benefit from them.
6. Include testimonials. Testimonials bring authenticity to your company and help prospects trust you. Add these to your appropriate product and service pages rather than creating a dedicated testimonials page because it connects a purchase with positive feedback. Be sure to include names and titles of your sources for optimal credibility.
7. Use strong calls to action (CTAs). Let prospects know exactly what you want them to do next, whether that’s download a case study, read a blog post or register for a demo. While popups are popular for CTAs, too many can annoy prospects. Use them sparingly, if at all, and opt for buttons instead.
8. Simplify forms. Make the conversion process as easy as possible by asking for minimal information, such as name, email address and phone number.
9. Include high-quality, original images. Generic stock photos and low-resolution images harm your company’s brand. Use professional, high-quality photos that are compelling and connect with your audience segments.
10. Limit your offers. Target your content to the action you want people to take rather than bombarding them with many options. Prospects can feel overwhelmed by competing choices.

What are the key things you want visitors to do when they get to your site? Are they following through? Let us know in the comments below.

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