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Is your website really helping your business?

I know this seems like a silly question to ask in 2020, but I still see examples of websites that do not actually help (or not as much as they could).

For a website to be helpful, it needs to have a well-defined goal. And if you can track that, all the better!

Here are some examples:

  • it helps sell your products or services
  • it showcases your experience and expertise
  • builds a community
  • makes a bold statement about a cause you believe in and support

Website vs. Social Media

Social media gets a lot of attention today. It is tempting to focus on building a following there. We all know and follow “influencers” on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. 

But who really owns that audience and that space? Hint: It is not the influencer. It is the social media company. 

On a social media platform, even if you create content, you are still the guest. You are still a product that gets attention back to the social media company. You and your business can be kicked out at any time with no explanation given or a way to get back. And everything you have built can fall like a house of cards. 

This is where your website can help in a big way.

At the very least, your website should build a mailing list as a way for you to be able to contact your audience directly and not depend on “the algorithm” or “boosting” your content. 

Unlike your social media page, the website is yours, and so is the mailing list. You may be forced to change hosting or email providers, but you don’t lose your audience or content, provided you are disciplined with your backups.

A website can be supplemented with a podcast. The podcast shows will also be distributed directly to your subscribers at no extra cost to you. There is no algorithm involved and no need to “boost” your content. A podcast has the added advantage that your distributing content cost does not increase with the number of subscribers, as it happens with your mailing list. You should, however, still invite your listeners to subscribe to your newsletter from time to time. 

The Take-Away

The take-away is that your website should do something, not just take up Internet space.

It should at least:

  1. build trust
  2. invite the user to subscribe to your newsletter or podcast
  3. have a clear value proposition and a call to action on the home page

How is your website doing? Let me know about your challenges in the comment section.

Business Monitor App

If you spend long enough taking care of websites and making sure they work, you will begin to do the same things over and over again. Is the online store working? Can Google access the website? Do the emails go out as expected? Is the newsletter signup box working? Is my website up or down? 

If you have to monitor only one website and it is relatively simple, then you can do this manually, and it is also likely you will quickly notice if something gets broken. But when you need to manage tens of websites, all these tiny checks add up and eat away at your productivity. 

We live in the era of automation.

We live in the era of automation (possibly the age of AI), so there must be a better way, right? 

Yes, it is. 

Any repetitive action can be programmed. To help me out, I have created a web application that I call the Business Monitor App. 

This web app runs independently of all the other websites, and it is programmed to “keep an eye” on them. 

When an unexpected event happens, it sends me an email alert so I can take action if needed. 

I quickly realized that I could go beyond simple server monitoring and do some business monitoring as well (hence the name of the app). 

This improvement means generating a daily report with what has happened on the website in terms of sales, traffic, sources of traffic, subscribers, and social media activity. All this compared to the previous day. It is a handy tool to make sure that you are on track with meeting your business goals. And if any monitored index drops all of a sudden, that is a clear sign of a problem. That becomes highlighted, and I know I need to take action. 

The business monitor takes the guesswork out of how much revenue to expect at the end of the month. Or if the current promotions are working or not. It has made everything more predictable, and you know to intervene soon if it the trend shifts, and it looks like you will not meet your goals at the end of the month. 

On top of the daily report, the app generates a dashboard called “The Business Pulse.” Looking at that page, you can see at a glance where you’re at with what is important to you. Revenue, traffic, user activity, subscribers churn rate, best-performing products. 

Next, I have created some reports that go deeper into the data and link together more websites into aggregated reports. 

Why not just use Google Analytics for this? 

Simply because I like the flexibility of building the reports that are relevant to me and generate the kinds of alerts that I need to take action on. Also, because some of the monitoring cannot be done through the Google Analytics data, and finally, because most reports aggregate data from multiple sources: website databases, google analytics, social media and newsletter service.

This app gives me peace of mind that if something goes wrong, I will find out quickly. And not only that, but scanning the dashboard and looking at the historical trends, I can usually spot instantly what the problem is, saving me a lot of time in having to debug. 

How do you monitor your business to make sure you stay on track with your goals?