Showing that a huge number of businesses have no numerical grasp on how well their website is performing, or whether it is leading to sales, a new survey of UK companies has found that 43 percent of respondents admitted that they have no quantifiable method of measuring whether their website is effective.
According to a study of 430 UK firms released today by web host and domain registrar Fasthosts Internet (www.fasthosts.co.uk), the average business has published a website for 3-4 years, yet one in four do not see their website as having potential as a sales channel. Also, 77 percent fail to measure any type of return on investment for their websites, and 1 in 3 owners admit that they have never considered checking the popularity or effectiveness of their website.
"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," Fasthosts chief marketing officer Steve Holford said in a statement. "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."
While studies show that now more than ever business owners realize the importance of their Internet presence, Fasthosts' study suggests that a great many do no more than publish a website. During the first half of 2009, a staggering 83 percent of small and medium-sized businesses have not analysed their websites performance against their business plan.
While 57 percent of firms monitor their overall website traffic volume, only 40 percent analyze where their website visitors are being referred from -- a key element of effective online marketing, and only 33 percent of owners that measure their website traffic look at the click-through rates to individual sections of the website, which helps a business see where consumer interest lies and whether visits are being converted into sales.
Despite half of businesses feeling happy with their websites and 43 percent seeing them as integral to their marketing efforts, the survey shows that a great many firms simply do not know whether their website is making the right impact.
Fasthosts notes that businesses owners now have a range of easy-to-use tools available for evaluating their web site's effectiveness. Fasthosts, itself, provides a graphical web statistics tool, MatrixStats tool, for free to its hosting customers, providing an instant snapshot of how well websites and domains are performing. Business can use this tool to view their web site's traffic by geographic location, referrer URLs, search engine keyword referrals, page popularity and visitor session lengths, as well as quickly identify web design or navigation problems.
Holford concludes, "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."
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