How do I know if my website is performing?

This week on UniquiTV – our weekly video blog answering your marketing questions we answer: How do I know if my website is performing?

You can download the example user testing questions here.


Hi, I’m Laura Janes welcome to UniquiTV, every week we answer the questions you ask concerning Financial Services Marketing.  This week the question came offline from a new client and they wanted to know “How do I know if my website is really performing?”

There are a lot of things you can look at for example your analytics, how many leads you’re getting from it, there are various ways with lots of advice about what you should or shouldn’t have on a website.  For me, there is one thing that makes the biggest difference in really understanding whether your website is performing or not, and that is user testing.  User testing is where you get real life people to give you some independent feedback on your website, although it may sound quite complicated in terms of recruiting those people, getting them in and asking those questions.

There are currently some online tools that make user testing really simple.  Before I setup this company, I  used to work with a number of large financial services brands and we wouldn’t dream of launching a website without doing extensive user testing, before and after it was launched and then ongoing to make sure it was still easy to use as a website and having an impact. One of the tools I use all of the time when I start working with clients on websites are these online user testing websites, there are a few out there, the one I use is www.usertesting.com, I find it quite simple and quite intuitive, the cost for these start from around £50-£100 per participant which may sound like a lot but if you’re going to be investing in your website, that investment up front can make such a big difference to the outcome of your final site, so it’s really worthwhile.  I normally recommend that you do the minimum of 5 tests, ideally around 9  is the ideal figure after that you don’t get much extra feedback, around 5 you will get a really nice amount of feedback.  There are a number of questions you can ask on these tours and you can program them to ask different things, and one of my favourite things on there is you can basically show the participants the home page of your website for 5 seconds and then ask to recall what they remembered, and what they think, those types of things.  In this world where we are moving so fast and our attention spans are so short, that initial impression that your online presence makes has a huge impact, so those questions are really key.

I also ask bespoke questions that are related to the brand, for instance, if it was a financial planning customer I would ask does the site look trustworthy, would you consider them as a financial planner and those sorts of things. The lovely thing is you can also target the type of people that you want to research on your website, for example when I use testing.com I can select age and income level when I’m looking for participants to take part in the user studies which gives you some very specific information for people like the ones you’re trying to attract.  The other nice thing it gives you is a net promoter score, which is a measure of how likely someone would be to recommend your site, I think it’s a nice neat simple measure of working out where you are and it also provides a scoring point for the before and after. You can have the net promoter score before and then you can redesign it to see how much you’ve progressed, and just to bring it to life I want to share with you some user testing we did about a year ago for one of our clients who was looking to redesign their website and they weren’t sure whether they needed the investment or not, at that point. I thought it was a really good exercise to give it a test and see what people would think when we put it in front of them.

“If this wasn’t a test would you consider this company to be your financial planner?”  “No, I don’t think I would actually because I feel it’s not sufficiently focussed and I don’t feel entirely comfortable with some of the layouts, particularly when you get onto things such as philanthropy and giving, it’s just all words really”.  Hopefully, you can see from that little clip the kind of depth of information you get about your website and the kind of emotion that someone might feel when they’re looking at your webpage. We did about 5 of those customer tests, as well as getting the surface feedback we asked questions about what people would like to see and also got them to look at competitors websites and tell us what they liked about them.  That allowed me to gather a number of requirements for the new website, about what was needed.  For this particular customer group they wanted to see awards and accreditations, they wanted to see real life people, the staff and the team and they wanted to get a flavour for what they looked like.  The colours and the fonts were really important and the overall feel, there was a lot of useful information and feedback and we collated all of that and fed that back into the new website build.  Obviously coupled with a really in-depth design phase, we then built it and put it back into the user testing.

And here’s a little bit of footage of the comments after the website rebuild.  If this wasn’t the test would you consider this company to be your financial planner?”  “I would certainly look into this yes, the reason being is that I think it struck a good balance here because of a lot of the time people, with financial services, there are 2 big downfalls that people are worried about: One, how secure and safe their money is? and secondly, if they are just big money- making businesses that aren’t actually interested in the individual and that doesn’t come across here, it comes across that it is very tailored.”

So hopefully you can see how useful that is to get that real life, in depth understanding of what’s really going on in your website and you can also see the transformation from a website that wasn’t particularly performing well into one that’s performing really well, and since we’ve launched that website it’s converting much better than it was before, it’s getting lots of really great feedback and that’s because it’s been built with the end customer in mind, they helped us design it, and that’s generally how you get the best results in any marketing if you start with your customer first.

I hope that was useful, I’m happy to share the kind of questions we ask I’m going to upload a document with this video content to show you some of the questions we did ask as part of that web research.  If you have any other questions please tweet me, I look forward to seeing you next week.

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