How effective is your website? You probably check where you come up in search engine results, claim your Google+ Local page, link to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, and use Instagram and Pinterest, right? But once your guests get to your site, what do they look at? How effectively is your website delivering the goods?

You could ask the same question about your blog. You may write about different things (food/recipes, things to do in the area, specials, events, etc.), but which ones do the visitors to the site actually read? Is your blog or website really effective at delivering on the promise that the guest finds in the search results?

There is a way to see if your website is effective

For a technical explanation, and more ways to analyze things, you may want to check out Avinash Kaushik’s recent blog post, that provided the idea for this post.

For our purposes, we’ll look at a fairly simple way to check what guests find useful on your blog or website (and what they don’t). In other words, how effective your website is. In fact, at the end of this post is a link to a spreadsheet that will give you very pretty results, if you provide the raw information.

Get the Categories your site uses

The first thing you’ll want to do is look at your website (or blog) and consider the primary categories of the site. This may be the top level menu items on your navigation menu, or you may need to do a bit of organizing. For many inns or B&B’s, this might be:

  • Rooms and Rates
  • About
  • Breakfast
  • Availability
  • Specials
  • Things to Do
  • Directions

Content Consumption spreadsheetIf you have other areas, like a Photo Gallery, or whatever, feel free to add that, too. If you’re looking at your blog, your categories will probably be different.

Now count the number of pages you have that fall in each category. Leave off your home page on your website, as it is likely to skew the results significantly.

Next get the visitor usage data

In your statistics program (we’re using Google Analytics, but whatever you’re using will work just fine), set the period of time you want to look at (the past year, month, whatever), and get the number of unique visitors by page for the pages of your website. Get this number for every page that you counted when figuring out how many pages you have in each Category above. Next come up with the total number of unique pageviews by category by adding up all the unique pageviews for each page in the category.

If that wasn’t totally clear, look at it this way. If your “Rooms” category includes a generic rooms page, plus one page for each of your five rooms, you have 6 pages. For the time frame you’re interested in, get the number of unique pageviews for each of those six pages, then add those figures together to get the total number of unique pageviews for the Rooms category. Do the same for the other categories.

Getting useful information

Now that you have your information together, click on this link to access our spreadsheet. Make a copy of the spreadsheet, so you can edit it (or you can download it to your computer, if you prefer).

Once you have a copy, enter your figures in the white areas of the table (Columns D and E). Change the names of the categories in Column A, if you like. When the sheet updates, you’ll see your figures in the accompanying bar graph.

For example, in the screen capture at right, you’ll see that even though the rooms pages on this website amount to only about 20% of the site, they receive over 50% of the unique pageviews.

What does that mean? It certainly means that this is an area that people want to look at. This property should be sure their room pages are attractive, accurate, up-to-date, and filled with lovely photographs, to encourage those visitors to book the rooms!