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43 per cent of businesses do not measure if their website is working


Abstract:
* 83 per cent of firms fail to compare website effectiveness against business plan * Three quarters of SMEs do not measure ROI of their website
  Article Category: Webhosting
  Published on Oct 20, 6493

43 per cent of UK companies admit that they have no quantifiable method of measuring whether their website is effective, according to research released today Fasthosts Internet Ltd, (www.fasthosts.co.uk), a leading web hosting provider and domain name registrar. The study of 430 UK firms(1) found that whilst the average business has published a website for 3-4 years, a huge number of businesses have no numerical grasp on how well their website is performing, or whether it is leading to sales. 1 in 4 owners do not believe their website has potential as a sales channel. A remarkable 77 per cent of firms fail to measure any type of 'return on investment' for their websites, and 1 in 3 owners (34 per cent) admit that they have never considered checking the popularity or effectiveness of their website. The research suggests that many companies are failing to analyse and optimise online as diligently as they do other areas of their operation.

Whilst studies show that the majority of business owners today realise the importance of having a presence on the Internet, it appears that a great many do no more than publish their website. Fasthosts' survey of 430 small local businesses using a website, found that over 40 per cent currently do not use data to assess whether their website is working to support their business goals. During the first half of 2009, the vast majority of SMEs (83 per cent) have not analysed their websites performance against their business plan.

Despite half of businesses feeling happy with their websites and 43 per cent viewing these as integral to their marketing efforts, it would appear that a great many firms simply do not know whether their website is making the right impact. Only 57 per cent of firms do monitor their website performance by checking an overall traffic volume statistic for their homepage. However, only 40 per cent currently analyse where their website visitors are being referred from, an essential element of effective online marketing. Furthermore, only 33 per cent of owners that measure their website look at the click-through rates to individual sections of the website. This exercise can be invaluable in enabling a business to see where consumer interest lies and whether visits are being converted into sales.

Steve Holford, CMO Fasthosts Internet Ltd., said, "In today's difficult economic climate, the web has never been more relevant for every type of UK enterprise. However, a huge number of firms continue to invest blindly in a web presence without checking whether it is earning its keep. Irrespective of the scale of web project, every business will benefit from using simple statistics to monitor efficiencies and ensure that every visitor is being capitalised upon".

It is perhaps unsurprising over three quarters of businesses questioned (77 per cent) make no assessment of 'return on investment' for their websites. Only 11 per cent of those surveyed, judged the effectiveness of their website in terms of 'clicks vs sales' or 'web cost per order'. Worryingly, the research would suggest that for a significant number of companies, expectations for their website are rather low. 1 in 4 owners (23 per cent) still do not believe their website has potential to be a sales channel. Since setting up their website, the majority of companies surveyed (62 per cent) have not taken any external advice about the effectiveness of their website.

However, nowadays easy-to-use tools are available for any business owner to evaluate the effectiveness of their website themselves. For example, Fasthosts provides its hosting customers with a free MatrixStats tool, a graphical web statistics tool that provides an instant snapshot of how well websites and domains are performing. Within a few clicks, business users can view their website in a range of useful ways - traffic by geographic location, referrer URLs, search engine keyword referrals, page popularity and visitor session lengths. Day-to-day, such tools can be a valuable asset for swiftly identifying problems with web design or navigation.

Holford added, "By taking note of their website statistics and making necessary changes, many companies we work with enjoy a real fiscal impact. With increased visibility and sales from a successful website, a business owner will grow faith in online markets and the role they can play in achieving a business plan".

As a leading web host, Fasthosts offers a comprehensive range of web solutions including domain name registrations, email solutions (including mobile email services), shared web hosting, dedicated servers, online payment services, reseller web hosting and feature-rich broadband packages.

 

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