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How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard in Just 5 Minutes

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard

You’ve spent money on your website.

You’ve invested hours into your blog.

Now it’s time to track the results.

Just like any part of your business, if you want to improve performance you first need to know where you’re at. These are often called KPI’s, or Key Performance Indicators.

Enter your website performance dashboard.

This dashboard will give you the most important numbers you need to track and warn you when you need to make changes.

At BlogWorks, we are checking our website performance dashboard and it’s one of the first things we recommend our clients create.

It’s Monday, you walk into your office…

It’s Monday morning, you’re updating your list for the week and you stop.

There it is—that item you’ve been putting off for weeks: “update website.” Every week you’ve moved it to the next week; not sure how to start. Should you do a major overhaul (ugh!) or does your site need tweaking?

The problem isn’t your website. The problem is you don’t have the right information.

You need good information to make good decisions

Now imagine a different scene…

It’s Monday morning, you walk into your office and there’s a single page report lying on your desk. You smile.

It’s your website performance dashboard and it quickly gives you all the numbers you need to make good decisions. Cool, right?

But, before we get into what goes into your website performance dashboard, let’s look at a common mistake.

It’s called scope creep.

Avoid scope creep

As you start to build your website performance dashboard it’s easy to go too far.

For example, you want to know about traffic going to your site in the last 30 days. Great! But do you look at unique visitors (“users”), or do you look at pageviews, bounce rate, session duration, country of origin and best time of day to publish?

There are hundreds of data points on your site and trying to track any more than the essentials will quickly turn your website performance dashboard into a failed experiment.

Trying to track too much data is a recipe for disaster.

It’s like the dashboard in your car. There are hundreds of moving parts in your car, but to drive safely and make good driving decisions all you need are: speed, fuel level, distance (odometer), and maybe tachometer. All other indicators are hidden (like low oil warning light) until you need them.

Anything more is scope creep.

The perfect website performance dashboard needs to do 3 things:

  1. Give you important feedback on your online performance
  2. Be easy to update
  3. Indicate problem areas that need fixing.

The other problem with scope creep is the time it takes to update data.

The dashboard I’m recommending requires pulling data from multiple sources, so the more data points you collect, the more time this will take, and the more likely you are to stop updating it.

In the past, I have built crazy-complicated dashboards. Sure, they were full of great information, but it was a hassle to pull all the data, and inevitably they all failed.

In this article, I’ll show you how to build your website performance dashboard in just 5 minutes.

First, let’s look at where this puppy is going to live.

Where to keep your new dashboard?

There are lots of places where you could keep your new spreadsheet:

  • On your computer
  • Dropbox
  • Google drive

At BlogWorks we use Google Docs for all of the information we share with members of our team. It’s easy to use, you can select who gets to view, comment, or edit the document and there’s virtually no risk of losing the document or wasting time searching for the document on your hard drive.

Plus, it’s free when you are starting out and don’t have a lot of data to store.

The perfect starter kit

To get started, the perfect website performance dashboard will have only 3 categories:

  1. Mailing list size
  2. Website performance
  3. Social media followers

At the time of writing, I’m delivering two webinars a month, so at BlogWorks we also track webinar performance.

Here’s an example of what your first website performance dashboard can look like:

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard
Example of your first website performance dashboard

Let’s get into more detail on each category.

Mailing list size and growth.

Your mailing list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have. Unlike social media, emails from your mailing list can get directly into your prospects’ Inbox. You can deliver invitations, follow up with leads, and nurture your list with new blog posts.

Even if you only have a few hundred on your list now, growing your list should be a business goal. Here’s why…

As our world rushes to get online, most business owners are reconsidering their business model. Traditional businesses, like lawyers, physiotherapists, retail stores – even house painting – are finding ways to attract customers online. In many cases, those businesses are now delivering their service online.

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard
Building a larger email list means you have more options in your business for future growth.

Having a mailing list makes all of those changes possible.

The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business.

The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business Click To Tweet

At BlogWorks, we track the total list size every week. And because we have multiple lead magnets, we track the number of people who accepted each opt-in offer.

Website performance

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with Google Analytics because it tracks all activity on your site. That won’t help you!

Most business owners simply need to track:

  • Number of unique visitors (called “users”)
  • Goals

Periodically you should also be checking:

  • Top blog posts
  • Source of traffic
  • Percent of mobile users
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion on top blog posts

Here’s how to find unique visitors:

Log into Google Analytics. Click Audience > Overview

In Google language “user” means the number of people who visited your site at least once (it doesn’t include multiple visits)

How to create goals in your website

To simplify your website performance tracking you need to create goals within Google Analytics. In WordPress, this is a one-time exercise that starts the data collection so in one click you can get all the numbers you need to add to your website performance dashboard.

Typical goals will include traffic to your:

  • sales page (consulting, book, products, etc.)
  • prices page
  • thank you page (for an opt-in)
  • special offer page
  • contact page
Once you have your goals created it’s easy to update your dashboard

Creating a new goal is easy:

  • Click the Gear button (bottom-right corner)
  • Click Goals > “+ NEW GOAL”
  • Click “Custom” (the last option in the list) > CONTINUE
  • Enter the name of your new goal (like “Contact page”) and for Type, click “Destination” > CONTINUE
  • Under “Goal Details”, enter the last part of the URL for the page you want to track, like “/contact” > SAVE
With a few steps, you can create a new goal and easily track your website performance

Automatically Receive your Google Analytics Report

If you want to have a bit more detail you can easily set up Google Analytics to automatically send the standard website dashboard to you on a regular basis.

Here’s how to set that up:

  • Log into Google Analytics.
  • Click on Audience > Overview.
  • In the top-right corner, click “Share”. Fill in the form that pops up including selecting the frequency you want and you’re all set.
It’s easy to set up to receive your Google Dashboard every month

Social media followers

Each social channel has its own measures of “success”. On Facebook, it is followers, likes on posts, comments, and shares. LinkedIn tracks connections, followers as well as likes on posts and shares.

That’s great to know if you’re making decisions on what posts to create next, but it’s too much information for a regular dashboard update.

I recommend your dashboard only tracks your number of followers (connections in LinkedIn.)

Create a system

Now that you have your first website performance dashboard created it’s time to add a system (or SOP Standard Operating Procedure) to make updating it a no brainer.

The worst thing to do is go to all the work to build the dashboard and then stop updating it.

If you are going to update the website performance dashboard yourself, one trick is to block time to make it happen. Create a calendar appointment for 15 minutes that repeats.

Now that you have your website performance dashboard you will want to keep it updated

You can also create a reminder that repeats.

If you have an assistant or use remote freelancers, this is a perfect task to outsource.

Your business will grow because of your hard work, but also because of good information. Just like knowing your financial information you should also be tracking your online performance.

With a little effort, you can easily create your first website performance dashboard and start using it to make better, more informed, decisions.

Liked this article? Here are 3 more all about growing your business with a blog:

SEO 101: using keywords in your blog post
How to hire an awesome writer for your blog
57 remarkable statistics and insights about blogging

11 Highly Productive Things Small Business Owners Should Do During A Crisis

highly productive things small-business owners should do during a crisis.

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
Henry Kissinger

There are some things you simply can’t fully prepare for. Like being a first-time parent, the start of a new small business, and a worldwide pandemic.

At some point, we can all look back with time-earned wisdom and find lessons in these life events. In the meantime, we need to respond. Take action – as unplanned and responsive as it might be – we are moving forward.

Like all cycles, we will get through this and there will be “the other side.” And like all cycles, some will be prepared and ready, and some will take much longer to find their feet.

This happened during the devastating influenza pandemic of 1918, the great depression in the 1930s, all the recessions in the ’80s and ’90s, the sub-prime slaughter of 2007/2008 and now during the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19.

As small business owners, we have a double responsibility. To our own health and families and to our responsibilities with our clients, employees, and suppliers.

When I was building Adventure Network I had all of those responsibilities, plus the weight of massive unsecured debt and crippling monthly bills (it’s not cheap to run 4 airplanes and the ground and aircrew to make it all happen.) I had to keep moving forward.

At BlogWorks I have employees and contractors. And, of course, I have our wonderfully loyal clients to think about. Shrinking back and waiting for the inevitable tide of world events to pass over me, like holding your breath waiting for the ocean to dry up, ain’t an option.

You have to keep moving forward.

Here are 11 things you can be doing now to keep your business vital and growing and prepared for the other side of a crisis.

1. Keep communication open

When a crisis hits it’s time to increase your communications. Keep your employees, contractors and suppliers included in any changes you are planning. The more people know about what is going on the more they can prepare and support you.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we started a weekly email to our clients and weekly updates to our team of 16 employees and contractors. The goal was to be proactive and share news about what we were working on. We also launched a survey to our list to learn about their blog preferences (the results will be turned into a blog post) and our writers to learn what writing skills training we can offer.

2. Kill some costs

This is a great time to review monthly expenses for your small business and look for areas to cut costs. One of my monthly routines is to run a highlighter over my company credit card statement, looking for any subscription charges.

I keep a running tally of subscription costs for Infusionsoft, Onehub, ScheduleOnce, Zoom, Feedly, Apple, Google, Dropbox, Siteground, etc. plus office rent, phone, and internet. Then I divide that total by the average income I get from clients—that’s how many clients it takes just to keep the lights on. The short-term pain of cutting one subscription can free up much-needed cash and leave more in your pocket.

3. Write more

People have more time to spend online, to read and to discover new solutions to old problems (some Internet sites are experiencing double their normal volume of traffic). Set aside time every morning to write and, if you have a blog, publish more often. Here’s the template I use for every blog. Remember, not every piece has to be a massive, epic treatise – consistency is often more important than word count.

Use a template to quickly move your mind dump of ideas into an organized flow.

4. Share your thoughts.

Maybe this is the time to get personal. Share your thoughts and what your experience has been with this crisis. This might be a departure from your small business’ normal topics (like this article) but it could also be well received by your followers and fans. After all, people buy from people they know, like and trust and this could be your time to build that relationship. You might get inspired by thought-provoking articles about coronavirus on medium.com.

5. Update your website

You know that thing that hangs out on the Internet that you swear someday you’ll update. Yeah, I’m talking about your website. If you’ve been putting off updating your website I have news for you…it won’t get any easier with time.

Not sure how to start? Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Update your contact page: is it inviting? Does it offer a simple checklist of options?
  • If you’re a keynote speaker, consultant, author or coach, start with your “About” page. The “About” page or “Our team” pages often get lots of traffic (people want to know who they are buying from).
  • Check the little copyright notice web designers love to put in the footer – does it show the current year?
  • Low-traffic pages don’t do you or your small business a service. Remove (in WordPress you can change these to Draft status) any pages that are no longer needed.
  • Set up Google Analytics to send you a monthly dashboard report on traffic. You’ve spent good money to build your site, now you need to know what it’s doing (or not doing) for you.
Google Analytics is important for tracking your small business website
In just 2 minutes you can create a monthly dashboard report sent to your email.

6. Connect more

Follow-up to emails, thank people for commenting and respond to social media followers. Your response might come at the perfect time to make a big difference in someone’s life.

Keap Founder, Clate Mask was quick to kick off emails to clients offering support and grant money during the COVID-19 crisis.

7. Strengthen your body

Long hours watching Netflix is a bad recipe for good health. You have fewer excuses and a whole lot more time to get out for a walk, jump on your bike or bliss out with guided meditation.

The good news is that as little as 20 minutes of daily exercise that gets your heart rate up and works your muscles can make a big difference. Just like writing, it’s more about quality than volume. Make it a morning routine and your body and mind will thank you. This 5-day series designed for busy people is a good place to start.

Martin Gibala explains how HIT training can give you big returns with very little time commitment.

8. Learn how to host online meetings

If your small business has not dived into the world of online meetings maybe now is the time to learn. I use zoom.us daily for meetings with staff, customers, and webinars (and now family). It’s surprisingly easy and robust. You might even have a client willing to move a planned event to online. A free plan allows for 40-minute calls – plenty to get you started.

Zoom is a great tool for small business owners working from home
Zoom makes it easy to jump on a quick call with your team or plan a webinar for clients.

9. Read more

Now is a great time to dig into the pile of unread books by your bed, and expand your thinking (and get off Netflix). I’m deep into The Choice by Edith Eger a breathtakingly beautiful work about “our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others” (Desmond Tutu), Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant, and Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

“The future is uncertain… but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”
Ilya Prigogine

10. Launch a survey

Now could be the perfect time to reach out to your followers with a needs assessment survey. Maybe you want to know how they are using your product or service (do they order online?), is there a demand for new products or what topics they want you to address in future webinars. Survey Monkey makes it easy to create, launch and promote a survey (you can also use their app to run surveys in Slack to your team.)

If you are going to launch a survey, here are a few tips:

  • Keep your survey to 12 questions and if the survey only takes 2 minutes to complete, tell them in the invitation, like this: “Here’s the survey (2 minutes).”
  • Start with easy multiple-choice questions, like: what services have you used in the past?
  • Keep personal questions to the end (remember if you don’t ask for their name you won’t be able to match responses to respondents.)
  • Limit open-ended questions, which are harder for people to answer, to 1-2 questions.
  • Offer an incentive. A trick I use is to include a link to a free download in the Thank You message.
Set up a survey for followers of your small business
Survey Monkey makes it easy to include an incentive at the end of your survey.

11. Look ahead

I’ve been taking time every day to work on my planning. As I’ve shifted the focus for most of my working hours to BlogWorks I’ve realized a number of areas where I need outside help. Maybe you need to be looking at outsourcing some routines, like your blog, your marketing, your website updates or graphic design. This could be the perfect time to learn how to post a job on Upwork or other freelancer sites like Freelancer, TopTal, or WorkHoppers.

When a crisis hits, like COVID-19, it might be the perfect time to invest in strengthening your small business and yourself. As my Mom used to say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Enjoyed this muse? Here are more of my thoughts about being productive – enjoy!

How to make your blog stand out by taking a risk!
How to attract more readers to your blog today.
21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash