February 2, 2024

A Guide to Understanding Website ROI

As you consider building a website for your business or redesigning your current website, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Is this worth the investment?” We know it can be hard to stomach the price tag of a website build (especially if you’re a newer business) but a user-friendly, strategically designed website has the potential to transform your business and your bottom line. In this article, we’ll explore how to think about website ROI (return on investment) and why it matters.

Defining Website ROI 

Before we dive into the details, let’s align on what we mean by website ROI. Simply put, it's the measure of how much value your website generates for your business compared to the resources you invested in its design, development, and maintenance. For a web design studio like Miolo, the goal is not just to create a beautiful website but to contribute to your business’s overall success. This is the reason that we focus so much on your business goals at the beginning of each project; we want to create a website that helps you achieve them. 

Although ROI is commonly calculated by dividing the profit earned on an investment by the cost of that investment, it’s a bit more nuanced for website builds. There are two reasons for this. First, there is no simple metric that shows you how much revenue your site has generated (except for ecommerce sites, where you can easily measure online sales). Second, there are many benefits to a well-designed website that are difficult to quantify, such as brand awareness. This is why we encourage business leaders to focus on the website’s potential impact on key performance/revenue indicators rather than on its effect on revenue itself. In the next few sections, we’ll outline some of the key metrics we suggest tracking, plus how to build/redesign a website that positively impacts these KPIs.

Important Website KPIs

To understand your website ROI, start by defining the performance/revenue indicators relevant to your website. Common ones include: 

  • Leads/conversions - Activities like contact form submissions, newsletter signups, content downloads, quote requests, and CTA (call-to-action) button clicks are often a customer’s entry point to your products and services. 
  • Online revenue - Will your new website bring in additional revenue through online product sales, new payment options, or an improved shopping/checkout experience for users?
  • Engagement rates - Longer page view times, repeated site visits, and increased clicks on your website content are often major indicators of success.
  • Site visits - The more people coming to your site, the more your marketing and sales funnel grows. Plus, this is great for SEO and will increase your likelihood of appearing in the first few pages of Google search results.
  • Brand education/awareness - The more people understand who you are and what you do, the more likely they are to purchase your products or services. This one is difficult to measure quantitatively, so we advise using customer surveys.

You can access most of these metrics through website analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, but if you need help, consider hiring a web analytics professional.

Building a Website that Achieves Your KPIs

Now that we’ve outlined some of the key metrics you should be tracking to understand your website performance, let’s move on to how to move the needle on these KPIs. There are many different strategies, but here are the ones we have found to be the biggest determinants of our clients’ success:

Aligning Website Goals with Business Objectives

One of the most important aspects of maximizing website ROI is aligning your website's design and functionality with your overarching business objectives. A website that seamlessly integrates with business strategy has a higher chance of delivering a substantial return on investment. Every time you make a decision about your website, make sure you can trace the decision back to a specific business goal (e.g., "I think adding this feature will increase the number of leads coming through our website."). Without this kind of focused, top-down thinking, it's easy to get carried away investing in features and edits that don't really matter.

Optimizing User Experience (UX)

Intuitive navigation, clear calls-to-action, well-organized content, and responsive design contribute to a positive user experience, ultimately driving customer engagement and, consequently, ROI. We often advise clients to think about the key "action pathways" they want users to follow on their website, and then we work with them to in building these pathways to be intuitive and barrier-free. One more tip here: make sure to consider all of your website audiences when defining these pathways. We recommend defining primary and secondary audiences, and then outlining the actions you want each to take on your website.

Conversion-Centric Design

Whether your goal is to capture leads, make sales, or encourage specific actions, a conversion-centric design can significantly impact the website's ability to convert visitors into customers. One of the most important principles in conversion-centric design is making sure users get to the desired action in the fewest clicks as possible. For instance, if you're ultimately trying to push users to buy your product online, it shouldn't take them 5 clicks to get to the checkout button. Conversion-centric design is all about getting your customers where you want them to go as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Ongoing Monitoring and Improvements

Clients who monitor their website’s performance and make continuous data-driven improvements are most likely to achieve a sustained ROI. By monitoring your site's analytics, you can gain insights to help you capitalize on what's working well and fix what isn't. Instead of waiting to do a website update every few years, we recommend checking in on your site's performance on a monthly or quarterly basis and making small, incremental changes to maximize performance.

SEO and Content Strategy

Websites that follow SEO best practices (such as image optimization, meta/page descriptions, alt text, and keyword implementation) will show up higher in Google search results and drive more user traffic. Thoughtful, well-organized copy is another great way to boost your site's SEO, as Google will recognize your website as providing the most value to users. There are a lot of marketing activities beyond your website that can boost your website's SEO (e.g., social media, newsletter marketing, etc.), but you should at least start with a good foundation.

Scalable Design

It’s important to build a website with a solid foundation and well-defined structure that allows you to easily add new pages, features, and content over time as your business grows. Businesses commonly come to us with what we call "Frankenstein websites" that have layers of convoluted features and functionality that sit on top of a shaky foundation. This is the recipe for time-consuming site edits and eventually an expensive website redesign. Do yourself a favor and invest in doing it the right way upfront so that you don't pay the price later.

Closing Thoughts

Achieving website ROI requires a holistic approach that goes beyond revenue alone. It’s a multifactored endeavor that involves determining which website KPIs you care about (leads, online sales, engagement, site visits, or brand awareness) and then implementing the strategies proven to positively impact them. 

As you consider whether, or how much, it’s worth investing in a new website, consider speaking with a web design team like Miolo who can help you determine the best strategies to maximize ROI. And if you’re interested in seeing real-life examples of our clients’ results, check out our case studies.

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