A question I often ask my target market is, "what’s your biggest challenge with building your business online?" And one answer I get frequently is this:

How do I make my website earn money?

If you’ve got a business online, then it’s likely you have some sort of web presence. Perhaps it’s a one-page ‘sign up for my list’ kind of site, or a full-blown brochure site with a menu of choices, or maybe your site is in the form of a blog. Regardless of what kind of site (or sites) you have, if they’re not doing what you want them to – and since we’re in business, ultimately that means making some sort of a profit – then it’s time to make some changes.

But how do you REALLY know whether your site is working or not? Here are four strategies to test and track your pages to know what needs fixing:

1. Let the numbers speak

I’m sure if the sky was the limit, you’d hire the most expensive web designer with the fanciest tools to create the most spectacular site imaginable for your business – and someday you just may do that.

For now, though, even an ugly site can make money. I can think of at least two sites right now that I personally think are not that pleasing to the eye, yet I know they are raking in the bucks each and every month, year after year.

So don’t get caught up in having the most polished and professionally looking site. Focus more on having the pieces in place that will bring you the cash, too.

2. Give your site only one job

Think of each page of your website as a separate entity with one main purpose. It may be to sell something, or to sign up for your list, or to get people to call you for an appointment. Whatever it is, make it clear that that one thing is the action your visitor should take from being on that page.

3. Track your numbers

Most web hosts offer statistics that you can use to watch your numbers, or there are other web stat programs that you could use as well (such as Google Analytics). However you are keeping an eye on your numbers, you should be looking for two things: how many people visit your site and how many people take the action you want them to take.

From those two numbers, you can figure out your conversion rate, which tells you how many of those visitors took the action you wanted them to – like sign up for your list. If you make small changes to your page AND watch these numbers at the same time, you’ll be able to tweak things to increase your conversion rate.

4. Make one change at a time

This is a very effective way to increase the conversion rates on sales pages and sign-up pages. Change just one thing – for example, the headline – and watch your numbers. Compare those statistics to your previous ones and decide whether or not to keep the change. (You can also do this via a split-test in your shopping cart, where the software does the number crunching for you.)

I see so many sites that try to be all things to all people by offering everything under the sun in too small a space – a website – and all that does is confuse people and encourage them to click away. Remember, ‘a confused mind always says no’, so always go back to the main questions when considering making changes to your website: What’s the purpose of this page? What is the one thing I want my visitor to do here? And then design your copy around the answer. Keep it simple and you’ll get better results every time.

© 2008 Alicia M Forest and ClientAbundance.com