Every serious marketing professional or business executive must constantly strive to increase the ROI of their website. It takes more than just luck to bring millions of visitors to your website, it’s getting more challenging by the day. To boost your website’s ROI, you need proper planning, as well as the professional design and content creation that separates the best from the rest.
What goes for any other ROI goes for websites too – it is based on the costs and the results.
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Costs range from free do-it-yourself tools to hundreds of thousands for high-end digital agencies. While a freelancer may charge you as low as $1000 for a template installation, big firms charge $100,000 for advanced web development.
Since there are no material costs, the price of a site depends on the scarcity and difficulty of skills required. It is also based on the estimates of the time required for design, programming, communication, and content creation.
Major cost factors are:
- Project management and communication – This depends on who will manage the project, and how many people will be giving feedback and approvals.
- Design – This depends on the template that is being used, as well as whether the brand is well-established or it is being revisited.
- Programming – The main point here is the features of the website and its functionality. You can plan for a lower programming price for somewhat standard features, and a higher price for custom ones.
- Team – The more skilled and experienced the specialists involved are, the higher the costs.
- Content – Redesigns often have lower costs. A lot of new writing and photography or video production adds to the price.
- CMS platform – Although the content management system isn’t necessarily a big factor, that doesn’t mean that WordPress sites are cheap. WordPress can be used for small and inexpensive sites, but it is also used for complicated sites. Other popular platforms are Drupal and Shopify.
Results vary even more, from negative ROI for websites that don’t produce results, to tens of millions of dollars in direct revenue for e-commerce sites, or in the value of leads for lead-generation websites.
Many factors affect the variation in return on investment, but these tend to affect the most:
- The cost of creating the website – We have already said that costs can vary. The hours spent during design and development multiplied by the cost of an hour are the baseline for the ROI.
- The cost of maintaining the website – While hosting expenses are not that high, the time involved in content marketing and potential advertising costs may be. This is why it is a good idea to build websites that are easy to update without hiring a designer or programmer.
- The traffic – The number of visitors on your website is the measurement of success. It is the marketing activity that has the biggest impact on traffic, and those websites that are search engine friendly are more likely to perform well.
- The conversion rate – While marketing activity has the biggest impact on traffic when it comes to conversion rates, this is where your web design has a chance to shine. The percentage of visitors who take action on your website, whether becoming a lead, or making a purchase, determines the bottom-line results.
- The website lifespan – A great website can produce results for five years or more, while a bad site will need to be redesigned within two years or less. This is something to keep in mind since a site that is effective for twice as long has twice the ROI.
The most valuable marketing tool
Your website is your most valuable marketing tool. This is the place where your branding and marketing initiatives flow. To give your visitors a compelling experience, your website must:
- Be strategically planned
- Answer the important questions from your prospects and customers
- Convey what you do and how you can help
- Be an enjoyable and informative experience
- Include search engine optimization best practices
- analyze and improve it regularly
If you have invested in a website, but the ROI numbers are far from what you expected, there is no need to feel disheartened. Beginnings are hard, and while there is no magic formula to skyrocket your ROI overnight, these are some of the steps you can take that will put you right back on the path of success.
The planning of a great website
It takes only a couple of seconds for a website visitor to decide whether to hang on or exit. In this short time, they make assessments on your website structure. Maybe they have an uneducated eye, but they know what they want, and you can’t argue with that. If you wish to keep their attention for more than just a split second, you need to take a look at your website structure. Your navigation needs to be easy and logical to people unfamiliar with your company. Also, in the short time that you have, your website needs to answer all the major questions of a visitor. If this is not the case, you will need to address the organization of your site’s content and pages, or do a full website redesign. Sometimes a full redesign is a better choice than retrofitting.
Testing your website usability
Usability testing services like UsabilityHub or FullStory come in handy for recording people using your website and getting user feedback. They highlight issues and problem areas that need to be improved.
When creating or updating content on your website, you should start by addressing the questions that your visitors frequently ask. You need to present yourself as someone that understands your prospects’ desires and offers solutions to their problems. People coming to your website need to have a sense that you are there for them.
The content of your website needs to be organized logically, while also avoiding web pages with long lines of continuous text whenever possible. Here are a couple of notes that can help you:
- Keep headlines succinct
- Use subheadings and pull quotes
- Utilize bulleted and numbered lists
- Break up the text by using relevant photos, illustrations or videos
- Provide a call to action, or some other way for a website visitor to take the next step
Creating a compelling and reflective website design
As we have already said, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the user. If you miss that window, the opportunity is gone, and that visitor is likely not coming back. As you walk towards the high ROI, the steps we outlined are milestones to making your website your most powerful marketing weapon in the advertising arena.
The design of your website will help display your content, as well as captivate visitors. This is why it is important to keep the design, colors, and fonts that you use on your website consistent with your company’s branding. You want your users to have no confusion as to where they came once they enter your site. Your web designer can utilize your brand guidelines to make sure the colors on the website are consistent with all of your other branded marketing communications.
Optimizing for search engines
Most businesses make a mistake when planning a website redesign. Their main focus is usually on the look of the website and what it says to people visiting it, often overlooking a very important thing – search engine optimization. Your website’s code structure is extremely important, as additional text and content need to work behind the scenes as well. The structure of your headlines, sub-headlines, lists, images, and much more, is critical for your site to be optimally indexed and categorized by search engines. The text referred to as meta data needs to be thoughtfully prepared, as this serves as a brief overview description of the content on web pages.
Using Google Analytics to improve your website ROI
Google Analytics is a free service that records plenty of data about your website visitors and their actions. It tells you:
- How much time people spend on your website
- Where visitors are coming from
- Which keywords visitors search
- How advertising efforts are paying off
- Your most valuable pages
- Landing pages conversion rates
Your website is an investment that requires ongoing attention to maximize its potential. Setting goals in Google Analytics and reviewing it regularly will lead to future improvements that may be necessary to get the most ROI possible.
In the business world, the end goal is connecting with your target market and making a profit. Websites can be incredible tools to support your business. Investing in web design that meets the expectations and demands of today’s market will help attract and engage your audience, which is the first step towards conversion. New businesses lack the resources that larger and more established businesses have. This means they need to carefully consider each investment. But, when it comes to investments that maximize ROI, there is none more effective than professional web development.