It absolutely reeks of cheese.
That question web designers ask you, like you’re supposed to know the answer.
And they ask it with one eyebrow up and a smirk, like they know SO MUCH more than you, when really?
They’re just trying to sell you a website.
The cheesy, gimmicky, stick-a-spoon-down-your-gullet question:
Is your web design working FOR you?
The assumption is, that your website isn’t PRETTY (see also: bold/daring/magnetic/sparkly/etc.) enough.
Your logo isn’t YOU enough.
Your website isn’t THEM enough.
But if you press him on it, that designer (bless his heart) who REALLLLLY wants to give you a new logo? Has no idea what a hard-working website looks like.
He’ll point to your logo, frown, and say, “Well, THAT needs help.”
He’ll say, “You don’t have more subscribers because your design isn’t CLEAN enough.”
(whatever that means.)
Or maybe he’ll just hold out his hand and wait for your cash.
And it’s true – sometimes you DO need a little polish, but here’s the truth:
No good design can salvage a weak brand.
But on the other hand?
It’s absolutely possible to forge a strong brand without touching your design.
That means that before you go spend the cash you’ve been scraping together, HOPING a design is really what you need, you need to figure out:
Is there something your blog – your website – needs first?
That “something” you need – whether you’re just starting out, or whether you’ve been blogging since the First Clinton Era – is a strong BRAND.
But how do you measure something as touchy-feely as a brand?
Enter…your conversion rate.
Your conversion rate is like a thermometer that can show you how healthy your overall brand is on your site – it simply tells you out of ALL the people coming to your site, how many are taking the action you want them to take?
In business circles, we talk about converting someone from a reader/subscriber to a customer – meaning, the reader buys something from you.
In blogging circles, it’s usually a bit more simple: what percentage of visitors are becoming your email subscribers?
But before you start putting ANY kind of subscriber strategy into place, you need to know where you are right now. You need to calculate your blog’s conversion rate.
And the reason is this:
You need to know whether whatever you do to FIX your problem is working…or whether you’re flushing your Ben Franklins down the commode.
Just say NO to flushing Bens.
Think about it…you decide to spend time/money on:
- a pricy “exclusive, cool-bloggers-only” membership. Does it actually help you build a stronger business?
- a flashy plugin that promises to deliver new readers in droves…for a price. Does it actually help you build a stronger business?
- creating that “bribe to subscribe” you’ve always heard you should create. Does it actually help you build a stronger business?
The answer may be yes, or it may be no. But here’s the deal:
If you’re going to be taking ANY time or spending ANY money on your blog/business, it needs to translate to a measurable, tangible change. “Knowing more” or having a shinier site is nice, but if you’re going to be a smart business owner, you need to know if what you’re doing is working, or if you should cut it loose and move in a different direction.
We’re going to take a measurement of how healthy your brand is…and you’ll have a starting point to compare with a few months from now.
***WARNING: MATH AHEAD***
Now, this might seem a little scary if you’ve been afraid to look.
But before you fuh-REAK (!) and click-away-real-quick because MATH and IDENTITY CRISIS, watch the video below. I’ll show you how to quickly grab the stats you need, how to calculate your conversion rate, and what all this means once you find it.
VIDEO: How to Calculate Your Website’s Conversion Rate (15:45)
As I said in the video, conversion rates vary widely from niche to niche. For example, food bloggers who are used to churning out “just” recipes will have a lower conversion rate than – say – a marketing blog that writes about how to make more money.
But if you do the math and it makes you want to hide under the covers with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, then you need to work on your brand, which will also help you develop a solid subscriber strategy. And then (and ONLY then!) do you even consider plunking down that wad of cash for a new design.
…and if you’re already converting 5-10+% of your new visitors to subscribers?
Then a new design will be icing on an already-delicious cake.
P.P.S. If you’ll share your results in the comments below or add your question, I’ll do my best to help!