Optimizing Your Website for Maximum ROI

Your website may be pretty, but that doesn’t mean it’s working to its full potential. Consider the following scenario, pulled from the Brainstorm archive of "Invaluable Online Marketing Tips"…

Stephanie, a new business owner, finds a truly stellar web design team to build her a site complete with all the latest design bells and whistles. She’s excited when it launches, but within a few weeks, she notices that visitors to the site aren’t taking action. They aren’t contacting her for more information and they certainly aren’t purchasing products. "What’s going on?," Stephanie asks her stellar design team. "We’ll look into it" they tell her. But the damage is already done – weeks worth of website visitors looking to purchase Stephanie’s products have long since moved on to her competitors.

This scenario is surprisingly commonplace. Top-notch graphics, exquisite typography, and the latest development technologies don’t count for much if they’re not helping you grow the very business your website was designed to promote. What Stephanie’s website needs is ROI Optimization, which focuses on the following three key metrics:

Conversion Percentage

For business websites, conversions are the key to success. Any time a visitor performs an action on your website that you want them to perform, that’s a conversion. Online purchases, requests for information, newsletter sign-ups… all of these can be considered conversions, as they equate to either sales or qualified leads. ROI optimization focuses on increasing conversion rates through strategic on-site marketing, intelligent re-design, and ongoing analytics. The path a visitor takes through a website, how much time they remain there, and a host of other key factors can all be mapped, analyzed, and used to inform the ROI optimization process. Increasing conversion percentages can pay enormous dividends to website owners. Let’s return to Stephanie’s website as an example:

If Stephanie’s site gets 5,000 visits a year, and converts 2% of those hits to sales at an average sale of $1,000, the total revenue generated by her site is $100,000. By increasing the site’s conversion percentage from 2% to 4%, Stephanie’s total revenue would be $200,000 – a 100% increase.

Site Visits

The ROI Optimization process is designed to increase the number of visitors to a given website while decreasing the cost of getting them there. A variety of techniques, including on-site optimization, strategic link-building, and pay-per-click advertising, can be employed to increase the overall number of visits. To drive down the cost of attracting visitors, careful attention must be paid to keyword selection, pay-per-click campaign management, and a number of other key factors.

Increasing site visits, and doing so at minimal cost, can dramatically enhance a website’s ROI. Let’s look at Stephanie’s website again to see how effective it can be: You’ll recall that with its increased conversion percentage, the site was converting 4% of its 5,000 yearly visits for $200,000 in new sales. If we can increase the number of visits by 50% to 7,500, total new sales will increase to $300,000. That’s a 200% increase from where we started, when the site was bringing in $100,000 in annual new sales.

In addition, if our PPC campaign management and SEO efforts bring the cost per visit down 20%, from $2.00 to $1.60, our ROI increases dramatically as well. We’re now spending $12,000 to generate 7,500 leads (previously, this would have costs us $15,000), and our ROI increases 150%, from 10 dollars per dollar spent to $25 per dollar spent.

Revenue per Customer

The final leg of the ROI optimization equation involves total revenue per customer. This is a complex metric that takes us way beyond site optimization and into the realms of company sales strategy and operations. Nevertheless, there are many ways that your web marketing and web development providers can assist you in this regard. Funneling paths can be created on the site to drive potential clients to specific products with higher profit margins. Add-ons and cross-sales can be generated through improved information design during checkout. Finally, the site can be positioned for optimal placement within target markets that produce bigger and more profitable sales.

Returning to Stephanie’s website, If we can increase the average sale from $1,000 to $1,500, she’ll begin to see some truly exponential business growth. Her overall yearly sales, which started at $100,000 before ROI optimization, are now $450,000, a 350% increase. Stephanie’s ROI increases dramatically as well, to $37.50 per dollar spent, a 275% increase overall.

Don’t get us wrong, we have nothing against pretty websites. In fact, at Brainstorm Studio, we pride ourselves on our visual design expertise. But a pretty website that isn’t positively impacting a client’s bottom line is destined for the virtual dustbin, whereas a site that generates sales and increases ROI leads to business growth and a happy client. 🙂

By Bryan Lesseraux

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