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How to measure Web site copy effectiveness

Last article, we looked at the fundamentals of direct response copywriting and how to use AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to encourage Web site interaction. This article, we'll look at log ...

Last article, we looked at the fundamentals of direct response copywriting and how to use AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to encourage Web site interaction. This article, we'll look at log file statistic reports and three basic methods for measuring the effectiveness of your copy.

Here we go...

1. Task count

Simply add up all measurable tasks (within the report period) encouraged by the copy. If your page encourages newsletter subscriptions, how many subscribed? If your page encourages a spec sheet download, how many did so?

Don't stop there. The number of successful tasks is nice to know, but comparing against the total number of opportunities provides better insight. Use a conversion rate to calculate the copy's true effectiveness.

For example...

Let's assume the name of your page is trail_software_package.htm and the copy's objective is to encourage trial software downloads. If your report reveals 120 trail_software_package.htm page views and only 4 downloads, the copy's effectiveness is 3.3% (4/120). You've also learned 96.7% of total opportunities were lost. Ouch!

2. Average time spent on page

Some reports include the average time spent on an individual Web page. Though not 100% accurate, this metric does help identify trends and the impact of copy changes by using averages.

Remember, visitors may keep your Web page open without actually viewing it. Similarly, office workers may be pulled away unexpectedly.

In my previous life at a large consulting firm, I remember days of launching someone's Web page and not returning for hours. You know the story. Back-to-back meetings, a coffee break, an emergency conference call, a conversation with a co-worker, a lunch break, an office crisis, and before you know it half the day is gone. This kind of viewing behavior skews the statistic report's accuracy.

Sidebar: Never leave your desk when visiting our Web site and remember to read each page thoroughly. Increase repetition for maximum retention.

Instead of begging visitors to read your pages in one sitting, rely on averages for report accuracy. The more unique visitors and individual page views, the more accurate the average.

If the average is below expectation, rewrite the copy and record the results. Did the change help or hurt? Did it affect the task count or overall objective? For better or worse? Keep detailed records.

Don't stop there. For a good reference point, compare these averages against the actual time needed to read the copy start to finish.

For example...

If an average person needs 45 seconds to read the entire page and your report shows visitors spend less than 10 seconds on it, it's easy to conclude your readers are losing interest. Rewrite the copy following the basics of AIDA as explained in the previous article.

3. Top exit pages

Another method to gauge a visitor's interest level with a particular page is to track the Web site's top exit pages. If a high percentage leave without accomplishing the desired task, your copy needs improvement.

Tracking the task count, the time spent on individual pagesFree Web Content, and the top exit pages will provide insight and ultimately help measure the effectiveness of your Web site copy.

Article Tags: Site Copy, Time Spent

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Rick Costello, The Web Site Profit Doctor is a Chicago Area Web Designer and Internet Marketing Consultant who provides Web site help services that result in increased eCommerce revenue and more captured sales leads. Services range from basic web design help to complex Web analytics & Search Engine Marketing.

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