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Learn What Your Visitors Think: Don’t Fear Research

May 07, 2015

Are you finding it tough to get people to read your blog? Buy stuff from your website? Sign up for your subscription? Download your app? Connect with you on social media? Use your internal site search? 

There are so many questions you can ask about how websites perform (or, as the case may be, aren’t performing). Answering these questions requires a word many business owners, especially small and mid-size business owners, seem to dread: research.

Research sounds tough and expensive. This deters many small businesses and startups who worry excessive research will consume too much of their smaller budgets. But, the truth is, research is vital to help any type of company improve their website’s performance. As well, research doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming, or tough.

The Consequences Of Not Doing Research

If we take educated guesses, we’re rolling the dice with the future of our business. Instead of certainty in our company’s growth, we have hope that everything will be just fine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve skipped doing my research and I’ve paid the price for doing that. It is easy to think we know the answers about our company. Who else but the people who work for and run the company could possibly know our company and our customers?

Research Made Simple & Easy

If you aren’t getting the results you want from your website, then, no matter how much you know, you are clearly you are missing something vital. Failure can be educational, but only if you are failing strategically and in a way that you can learn something new from that failure. That’s where research comes in to fill the gap and ensure that you are learning the right lessons from failures.

But…here is the really important thing to remember: research doesn’t have to be hard or challenging or expensive or time consuming. All research requires is that you investigate a situation in some systematic fashion to uncover the facts of a situation to reach new conclusions.

The question you are after is what do people think of your company (or your product or website or app…). If the situation is quite severe or critical, where your conversion rates are quite low or where your competition is quite high, research may likely need to be more intensive to really figure out the situation and what to do about it.

However, not all research needs to take lots of time or be an all consuming endeavor. For my clients, I am continually running tests of new messages, new page layouts, and new delivery mechanisms. This type of basic research and testing is simple but revealing. From even the most simple of tests, you can uncover new facts about the way customers interact with the company, resulting in new ideas about how to improve the way the company interacts with the customers.

As well, this approach to research means changes are happening and generating live results. If we learn something that improves a website’s rankings or improves conversions, that means the website is now ranking higher or genrating more conversions. In other words, this type of research delivers a clearer return on investment.

So, don’t fear research. Keep it simple, keep it easy, and do research often to find out new things about how to improve your company.

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