Change Control Principles

We all have to make changes to our websites from time to time. It could be a straightforward change to prices or text, or it could be a relaunch of a whole new site. There are some fundamental principles around how we do those changes which can

  • save time
  • save money
  • reduce stress
  • convey professionalism

Plan Ahead

Change Control PrinciplesPerhaps the most fundamental aspect in making a change is measuring the impact and taking enough time to plan ahead so that wherever possible the change is proactive and not reactive. Making changes ‘on the fly’ may affect other parts of your site or cause confusion with your own personnel or customers.

Document your Changes

Take note of what you do and when you do it. Later, when you are measuring the effectiveness of a change it is easy to confuse dates. This also effectively provides a ‘handover’ to colleagues if you are absent or leave your role.

Don’t make changes too frequently

If you are able to spread out changes, then it will be clear how each change independently impacts your business. This may not be possible if you want to present one ‘set’ of changes so that customers only see one design shift.

Schedule Changes Sensibly

This is certainly the case if your change is going to require some ‘downtime’ in the system or site. If your peak hours are 9-5 Mon-Fri, then try to schedule changes at the weekend or overnight.

Communicate Effectively

Within your own company and particularly to customers. You can promote the updates in advance so that regular visitors to your site will expect a different ‘look’ on your launch date. Effective communication will reduce the stress of getting to know a new process and will reduce the load on customer service afterwards. Use your social media accounts to create a buzz around new features or design. You could even ‘trail’ a sneak peak of the ‘new look’.

Provide Customer Service

change control blog contact details copyWhen making changes, update processes and procedures as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). When there is a potential for confusion or new education, ensure a helpline number or email support details are visible and easily accessed.

Break it Down

Change Control PrinciplesComplicated changes may be able to viewed as a series of small revisions. In this instance, even if one component fails, other parts of the change may still be on track. If you hoped to accomplish tasks A, B & C, would A & B alone be enough to move forwards? This analysis should all be a part of the planning process.

Have a backup plan

What happens if your changes don’t work or are not well received? Make sure you know how to either revert back or create a workaround. If personnel are key, ensure you have cover or on-call resources.

Measure Effectiveness

change control blogIf your change was designed to increase traffic to your site or increase calls to your business, measure the success. Take time beforehand to quantify your goal and then review after a reasonable time. You may be able to use analytics to help with this.

Be Flexible

When everything goes as planned, great! It takes experience and confidence to adapt when things go wrong. Bring in your experts, make sure you have done your research up front and then be prepared to improvise.

If you’re looking for help with Change Control Principles and adapting your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

If Only My Website Had Responsive Design

It can be a dilemma.
  • You love your website
  • You are getting visitors to your site
  • It represents your brand perfectly
  • Your business is doing OK
What’s the problem? If you like everything about your site but it is not responsive in design, be prepared to make a change or pay the price in reduced traffic.
There are exceptions. If your site is visited exclusively by clients using a desktop, it may not matter. If your client base is broad and your new orders are triggered by existing customers, chances are they are only looking you up to check prices or submit a new transaction. In those cases, investment in a new site may not be worthwhile.

How do you know who accesses your site?

It’s easy within Google Analytics to see a breakdown of how clients are interacting with your website. The ‘Mobile’ overview breaks down the percentage (and actual session number) split between desktop vs mobile vs tablet. On the same screen, you can check the bounce rate – the percentage of people who clicked into the site and then didn’t explore further or clicked away. The lower the bounce rate, the better the chances that your visitor found your site engaging and interesting – good indicators when you are looking to promote your product or service.
 bounce rates1

Is the writing on the wall? (or in analytics?)

When you see a bounce rate that varies across devices then it can be an indicator that you are losing potential clients by not having a responsive site. What would that look like numerically? It may be a bounce rate of 50% from desktops and a bounce rate of 70% from mobile devices. If the sample size is large enough to make the data compelling, then chances are the experience viewers are having from mobile devices is offputting.
If in doubt, look at your site from a variety of devices and see how it appears when you use it. This is a good idea anyway so you can relate to the experience in a similar fashion to that of your customer.

Will things change?

Yes – the world of search engines and search habits are always evolving, however, the bad news in this scenario is that the swing is towards even more people searching from mobile devices so maybe it is a good time to make a change now.

Don’t want a new website design?

It’s not unusual to love your current site, after all, you probably helped design it, it serves a useful purpose, you’re familiar with it, it has evolved to be your perfect virtual storefront. Here’s the good news… there is no need to stress over a whole new website design and the costs which are typically incurred. If you like your content and don’t want changes made, the chances are it can be copied across to responsive design with minimal compromise. It might mean that some boxes appear bigger or smaller, there might be a slight shift in the overall aesthetic but a good designer will be able to lay out potential changes up front so you can decide if a switch is worthwhile.
It’s something to mull over as there are potential benefits to taking your current site over to responsive design without redesigning
  • it could be cheaper
  • it could be quicker than a redesign
  • it sets you up for the future with more and more people using mobile devices
  • there is no large investment of your time
  • website appeal will remain the same for desktop users but should improve for mobile users
If you love your site but it is not responsive, it may be time for an upgrade. You needn’t lose the features and design you like, it can be tweaked slightly to make it more friendly across all devices. If you’re looking for help with a new website or want to find out more about how a lack of responsive design may be affecting your online experience for clients, contact us today.

5 Reasons to use Analytics

1. It’s Free

analytics blog demographicsWhen you’re talking about using analytics or not, it’s really a matter of why wouldn’t you at least collect the data? Even if you don’t have time to study the analytics now, you’re building a stockpile of statistics which can be studied in the future. There is no cost associated with collecting the data. The potential cost is in the time it takes to interpret and use the statistics to help your business. This may be your time or a professional you hire to analyze the data for you.

2. It’s not rocket science

Google AnalyticsIf you’ve never looked into your website’s analytics, you may think it holds tables of data which you would have to spend weeks trying to understand. The truth is that much of the data analysis is already done for you and is presented in a format which is simple to interpret and intuitive.

3. You can track changes

Google AnalyticsWhen you make a change to your website or run a marketing campaign, it is likely that you will see a change in traffic to your site or a change in the traffic flow within your site. By using analytics, you will see the impact of a change. For instance: if you launch a new design on your site, is it holding a visitor’s attention? Has your bounce rate changed or the average number of pages a new potential client looks at. Likewise, if you have launched a responsive design website, does the bounce rate for mobile devices and tablets drop as would be expected (as your site would have been difficult to read and navigate without the responsive design).

4. Get to know your customers

Google AnalyticsYou might think you already have a good idea who your customer base is, and that is probably true. Analytics brings concrete evidence of where they are, who they are,  when they are searching your site, how they are finding your site and the flow of traffic through your site. How does that help? Well, it could help to target a new promotion or it may point to a fundamental flaw in your site if a large proportion of your visitors are not finding the pages you are trying to promote. It’s also a great way to find out leads generated through your social media. If your return on investment is not as expected, it could be time to rethink your strategy.

5. Shape your future

Becoming an expert on your site performance gives you the confidence and tools to plan ahead. It also empowers you to persuade others within the company or outside that you can manage your business effectively. The data can be used to backup a case for

  • a business loan
  • renewing a business visa
  • expansion (or conversely – downsizing)
  • verifying your business model is working

If you’re ready to start analyzing and want some help with your site, contact us today  info@trulium.com

Exploring bounce rates

What is a bounce rate?

First things first, let’s clear up the definition of a bounce rate. When related to websites, the bounce rate is the statistic which tells you how many visitors click on your site and then leave without further exploring your site.

For example, 50 people visit the home page of your website on one particular day.  35 of them click around the site accessing menus like packages or pricing and the other 15 don’t look further on your site (it doesn’t matter if they go to another site or just stop the session there). The bounce rate is

15/50 X 100% = 30%

Your bounce rate can be found in the analytics for your site.

Need I worry about a high bounce rate?

 

This depends on what you want your site to achieve.  A very high bounce rate can actually be a good thing if you are attracting the visitors you want and they are getting all they need from just one page on your site.

Examples would include:

  • directions to your business – your page is clear enough to get people to your address
  • opening hours – a visitor is interested in your service and just needs to know when to visit
  • contact information

Obviously, the smaller the amount of content on the site, the more likely the design can cram valuable content into that first page that the visitor ‘lands on’ (usually the home page).

 

How can understanding bounce rates help me?

This is where the value of the statistics really kicks in. Instead of just knowing the figures, we can use them to help tweak the site. From the raw data, it is impossible to know why your visitor didn’t click on more pages:

  • the site was boring
  • your site took too long to load
  • your site content is poor and you are being presented in search engines when other sites would be more appropriate
  • it’s unclear how to navigate around the site
  • the site looks overwhelming with blocks of text
  • worst of all – the site wasn’t easily recognized as yours due to lack of branding or an inconsistent message so you did all the hard work in getting that engagement and then failed to capitalize
  • the website was hard to read, literally (this is especially relevant from tablets and mobile devices)
  • all the information required was gathered on the landing page

Analytics can help tackle the ‘responsive design’ issue easily – if your bounce rate is being influenced by poor interaction from tablets or phones.

Look at the data inside the section

Audience -> Mobile -> Overview

bounce rates

 

The first column will display how your visitors are accessing your site. In this case, nearly 47% use mobile devices, about 45% use desktops, and only 8% use tablets. Understanding this pattern will help you know if it is worth looking at the experience a mobile device user is having. If 90% plus of your clients are accessing your site from a desktop, it may be worth concentrating on them. This is highly unlikely and the trend towards mobile and away from desktops shows no sign of slowing.

bounce rates2

Following the data table along, look at ‘bounce rate’ as well as ‘pages per session’ and ‘average session duration’. If the visitors to your site are having trouble navigating your pages or reading your text, you would expect the bounce rate for those devices to be significantly higher than from a desktop. That would also translate into a lower number of pages viewed per session and a shorter session duration. In this example the site has the highest bounce rate from a desktop and the other values (between the two device types that make up over 91% of the traffic together) are very similar. The conclusion would be that this site is mobile friendly.

If you’re looking for help with your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Making Google Analytics Work for Your Website

Ever started a diet but not tracked your calories? If so, you probably found out fast it was harder to lose weight without knowing that information. Using Google Analytics to bolster your company’s website and potential is a similar process. Google Analytics is a valuable tool that can give you many useful metrics such as:

  • the number of unique visitors to your pages;
  • where your visitors are coming from;
  • web browsers used by your visitors; and
  • keywords used to find you.

Like our dieting analogy, knowledge from those metrics is powerful. You can use metrics to make adjustments to your pages, your Search Engine Optimization strategy, or your website in general to make it more appealing to your current and potential customers.

“Need another reason to consider using Google Analytics? How about for tracking e-commerce? According to InternetRetailer.com, e-retail spending is expected to increase by 62% by 2016.”

We, at Trulium, are here to help you make the most of your Google Analytics reports.

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