You can’t determine your website’s “effectiveness” until you define its goals. Is the goal to attract new clients? To make sales? To encourage people to share your work via social media?
Depending on the purpose of your website, you’ll want to focus on specific features and check out how well they’re operating. But assuming that almost everyone wants to get “found” online by potential clients and provide a good visitor experience, here are three free tools to help analyze the most crucial components of your website:
This is arguably the king of all website analytic tools. While big, expensive analytics solutions are available, Google Analytics is free and easy to set up on your photography website. There’s a lot of information available, so let’s focus on two major reports: Site Content and Traffic Sources.
There are four types of sources – search traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic, and campaigns.
Majestic can help fine tune your SEO. Its Site Explorer tool offers important information that’s useful for figuring out how to increase your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). When you input your website’s domain (i.e. photoshelter.com, not www.photoshelter.com) into the toolbar, it spits back the total number of referring domains and external backlinks. This tells you the number of websites and also the number of links that link to your website, respectively. You can view Top Backlinks to see what sites are linking to you (the top five are free, but you can view the rest with a paid subscription).
Backlinks are an important factor in determining where your website ranks in the SERPs. A good way to see if you could potentially displace the sites above you is to input their domains in Majestic as well, to see how many backlinks they have. Also check out their top backlinks to help brainstorm ideas where you might be able to score new links.
We’ve all had it happen: You try to visit a website, but it takes so long to load that you get impatient and end up leaving before it even finishes. Beyond it just being annoying, a slow loading website might also get penalized by Google – so don’t let this happen to you! If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, then consider what factors might be influencing its sluggishness and clean up your site.
For example, make sure your site’s designs and images are optimized for the web. At PhotoShelter, we automatically do this for all our users’ websites so that they can upload their images in whatever file type and size they want, and then we take care of rendering them for the web. Check with your website provider to be sure they do the same.
There’s a lot to pay attention to when trying to optimize your website. A lot of useful information can be gleaned from Google Analytics, so try starting there and working on features that bring you the most business. As your website becomes more robust, revaluate your site’s goals and you’ll be ready to tackle new optimization projects.
If you’re a photographer looking for more info, check out this free guide: PhotoShelter’s Google Analytics for Photographers.
Allen Murabayashi is Co-Founder and Chairman of PhotoShelter, the leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing, and archiving tools for photographers. Allen is also an avid photographer and frequently speaks on how photographers can use online marketing to grow their businesses. PhotoShelter
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