What Your Old Website May Be Costing Your Practice
We all recognize the importance of having an effective practice website in 2019. Not only is it a key element to getting higher Google rankings and exposure, it is the hub of all your marketing and advertising efforts and investments. This includes media advertising, social media marketing, internal marketing, as well as referral marketing to professionals and clients.
The vast majority of higher quality leads will visit your website at some time prior to contacting your office.
Yet, many practices are resistant to redesigning their website, even when they recognize:
- The website is older and it looks dated
- The content was written years ago and probably doesn’t “connect” with today’s online users and mobile experience
- The website does not get high rankings on organic Google search results
- It lacks engaging, rapport-building visuals, like custom photography and videos
- The tracked leads and conversions (phone calls, emails, chats, and text messaging) are low
- Competitors’ websites appear more up-to-date, branded to their practice and project a more credible, authoritative image
Of course the biggest barriers keeping practices from improving their websites are the investment of time and money. I recognize these are not insignificant. Unfortunately, what gets overlooked is the other side of the equation: What is the cost to not improve the website?
What you need is actual data that can help you determine what results and impact you can anticipate with an improved website, and what you are likely missing out on by continuing to remain status quo.
The following is actual client results data we tracked and compiled after redesigning their website.
- The websites were redesigns for existing clients, not new clients
- The data was collected from redesigns we completed from 2017 and 2018
- The comparative data was annual month-over-month to minimize potential seasonality fluctuations
- The comparative data were based on the first 90-days after the redesigned website went “live”
- Website user data was collected through Google Analytics, digital leads (email/live chat/text message) were tracked, and telephone leads were reported through tracking phone numbers
- We tracked bounce rates, pages visited per session, average session duration and most importantly, leads.
Getting visitors to engage with your website is not only important to build rapport with your users, it is important to increase conversions and send higher quality signals to Google (and improving your rankings). A bounce is a one-page visit that leaves the site or times out. Lowering your bounce rate should be an important goal for redesigning your website.
Prior to redesigning, the average website had a bounce rate of 61.58 percent. In the 90 days following the redesign getting posted, the bounce rate dropped to 51.91 percent. Redesigning the website lowered the average bounce rate by 15.7 percent.
Pages Visited Per User Session
Closely tied to the bounce rate is the average number of pages users view before leaving the website or timing out. By increasing the number of pages your users visit during a single session, you are elevating their interest in your content and website. In addition, you again demonstrate to Google that your website is engaging and visitors are finding more things that interest them.
Before the redesign, the websites had visitors averaging 2.05 page views per session. After, we saw the average visitor clicking on 2.39 pages per user session. This translates to a 16.6 percent increase in pages per session.
Average Session Duration (ASD)
Google indicates it measures the Average Session Duration by dividing the total number of seconds of all sessions by the number of sessions. This sounds simple, but there are some variables when interpreting your average session duration.
The most important thing to understand is the time spent on the “exiting” page is typically not included in the Google’s total number of seconds for all sessions (unless you include Engagement Hits, such as a video that gets clicked, which only adds the time it takes to click on it, not the time to view it or eventually leave the page)
For example, a visitor enters your website through your home page. She spends 1 minute on the home page, then clicks to an internal page. After reading the page she exits your website. Your duration for that session is 1 minute, even if she spent 5 minutes on the internal page before exiting.
If the internal page had a video and she clicked on it 1 minute after visiting the page, the engagement would add 1 minute to the session, even if she watched the video all the way through and it was 3 minutes long.
Thus, the actual time visitors spend on your website is longer that the Average Session Duration. Increases in ASD can have a much larger impact than it may appear on the surface.
With all that being said, our average session duration before the new website was 85.6 seconds. After the new website went live, the ASD increased to 94.4 seconds; a 10.10 percent increase.
Of all the metrics we calculated, none was more important to clients than leads. In most cases, it is the one bottom line result that can justify the investment of time and money to redesign a website.
One would anticipate the improvements in user activity listed above would translate into a comparable increase in the average number of leads as well. Yes, we did see an increase in leads, but the more surprising result was how much.
Where we saw improvements of 16 percent in pages/session, 10 percent in average session duration and nearly 16 percent lower bounce rate, the average number of leads went from 106 leads per month to 136 leads; a 28 percent increase!
This increase in monthly leads was generated within the first 90-days after the redesigned website went live.
Redesigning your website can have an immediate and significant impact on your marketing ROI. By not redesigning a website (especially if you already know it needs it), your lost opportunity costs may not be a visible hit to your wallet; but make no mistake, doing nothing is likely costing your practice significant revenue.