Thursday, February 24, 2011

Check Your Website For Roadworthiness

The world is governed more by appearances than by realities, so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it.  -- Daniel Webster

Your business has cars that you check on each of them for safety before you assign it to be driven, right? You have made sure that it is fit to be on the road, that it is reliable to get from point A to point B and that the tyres are not worn out and the pressure is correct. There is oil and fuel in the tank and the registration is up to date and the seatbelts all operating as they should.

Your Website Vehicle 

Well we talk about traffic online and this is the currency of business.
How much traffic is there? How much of that traffic converts to sales?
That's what keeps businesses going and that is the beginning and the end of what any business owner in any field should want to know about their business whether it is online or offline or hopefully, both.

So since we are talking traffic terminology it makes sense to think of the vehicle by which the traffic is generated.

It is clear that many businesses who have a website do not maintain them as they would their fleet of vehicles and since the website has the potential to bring in new business, this is rather hard to understand why it is so.

Let's just investigate how a business might undergo a Roadworthy test with this checklist. The answers to these questions, should be known without hesitation by the owner of the business. No exceptions.

So here's your pop quiz! Now these do not represent an in depth list of questions that you should be monitoring but it is a very quick and dirty method of seeing if your website needs a service.

Your Website Roadworthiness Checklist

How do you measure your traffic to the website?

What are the top keywords people are using in search that brings them to your business?

Do you have a conversion system for your website?

What description about your business is Google picking up?

How are you using local search for growing your share of sales in the local area?

What pages are most visited on your site?
What websites are linking to you?
Which external websites are sending you traffic?

What percentage of your business comes from web compared to offline sales?

What is the turnaround time for enquiries to your website?

What facility is on the website for people to buy from you today?

If you have a shopping cart system, what is the dropout rate for those shoppers who don't complete a purchase?

What are the key words for which you want your business to come up, when people search?

In what way are you incorporating social media with your website and offline to generate traffic?

You have a process for monitoring your reputation online so you know what is being said about you and the business online.

In Summary

If you don't know the answer to these questions, then you need to get the report on these from your employees to you right now.

If you can't manage to get the report to you in short time, then this indicates you have issues that go beyond the website that need to be reviewed too.

These are just some of the obvious things that a business owner needs to be managing in the business. There are many more that you should know especially if you are paying for adwords and the like as well as issues of a more technical nature that can and should be measured in addition to these.  And it is a good idea to get these monitored by someone outside the business  from time to time - at leaste once a year, to ensure that you are getting the best advice from those inside the business whose job it is to oversee your web presence.

There are many ways to tweak a website for better performance and some of these can be done very easily and quickly.

So how did you go?

Happy with the result you achieved on this test?

If you are less than happy and would like a review of the rest of your website contact me now and let's investigate before there is any more damage.

Related posts

How To Set Goals - And Reach Them

The Dirty Secrets Business Needs To Know About Social Media

Why You Need To Build Your Mailing List And How To Do It

How To Get Your Local Business Found Online

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How To Start Making Good Decisions In Your Business

In the planning stages right now for release of a new product that will be available soon to help businesses to easily manage their information around compliance for employees and actually manage the information simply and with the least amount of misery as possible. I was really drawn to this idea when I first heard about it because it is part of the cluster of issues that comes up again and again, when working with business owners and which gets them stuck and unable to work effectively in the business.

In recent days, we've had articles on the fiasco at Commonwealth Bank and their Big Brother approach of their social media policy and the Heat Company winning their costs for a harassment case that they have been stuck defending for four years. Can you imagine the time and disruption this would create, even apart from any costs directly related to the case?

How Would You Cope?

If you were called to defend your workers against some accusation of wrongdoing in the workplace where would you start? How do you prove something didn't happen?

How many have good reporting in the business even for logging the things that DO happen?

Not many.

There are so many things that should happen in business that don't that it isn't funny.

These stories in the media go with other stories I've run into lately of business owners telling me they don't have issues in their business covered that need to be and at some level they want to be covered. Where they are exposed to risk by not having them covered and yet they go on and continue to put the things that expose them to risk in the "do later" pile and never get around to them. They have not bothered to get them done in the past, so it is a pretty safe bet that they will not get to them in the future either.

So what are some of the things that don't get done in small and medium business?

Things Not Done In Business

  1. No written policies and procedures which are always up-to-date, complete and accessible easily
  2. No real process for recruiting the right people
  3. No induction process for new hires to help them hit the ground running
  4. No real system to monitor and track performance and training 
  5. No business plan with an outline of priorities for this next period (and no 'in your head' doesn't count)
  6. No training process to keep employees improving their skills 
  7. No marketing plan to incorporate their online marketing
  8. No checks and monitoring of the business on the web
So what are the possible results that can happen to a business as a result?

What Happens When These Things In Business Aren't Done?

Some examples would be (and I'm sure you can think of more of your own)

  • Wasted time and energy by employees not following the set standards
  • Frustration for customers 
  • Opportunities not taken 
  • Sales lost
  • Crisis when a new person is needed to be hired 
  • Wrong people hired who are a poor fit and don't have the right skills or attitude
  • Poor performance from employees
  • Lack of interest and initiative in the workplace
  • Employees stagnating and not developing
  • Vital issues in the business not dealt with 
  • Resources (money) allocated to things that don't return value
  • Resources (money) not allocated to things that will return value
  • Value of the business reduced as a result of poor efficiencies 
  • Value of the business reduced as a result of poor management
  • Opportunities to grow customer base restricted
  • Lack of sales that could be made without increasing fixed costs
  • No data to analyze to improve business output
  • Opportunities for business to grow are hidden and not able to be activated. 

I don't know why a business owner would want that.

To come back to the compliance issues and we know that the regulations and requirements for business to be accountable for legal obligations is not going away. We can probably feel safe in assuming that the red tape is going to get worse rather than better, into the future.

"Too busy to get to it" is not a very good excuse when something goes wrong and the business owner has to show that they have done the right thing.

No good decisions come from a place of being "too busy". If you are "too busy" to get to these issues, then you can be confident that whatever other decisions you are making in your business are likely to be ill-considered.

There are few guarantees in life but here's one. Where the things that should be done are not and only the crises that you manage day-to-day get attention... any decisions made from this position, will be bad for your business.

How To Start Making Good Decisions

Take an objective look at your business.

Work out:
  1. What are the areas that have been neglected and need work?
  2. What do you need to do to fix this now?
  3. Do you have the knowledge and resources to fix this?
  4. Do you know where to find help for the things you don't know how to do?

 If you'd like a worksheet to use to start reviewing your business send me an email with your story and I'll send you one.

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering 

Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook!

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