Start treating your website like an employee

A hand selecting their happiness on a performance review scale

You measure your employee performance, but what about website performance?

One of your sales team hasn’t made a sale in three months. Do you sack them?

That’s a stupid question. Unless there’s a pretty good mitigating factor, they’re already on a performance management programme or have been told to clear their desk.

But are you managing your website’s performance? Is the online side of your business being given a free ride?

Setting targets

Your website should be doing one of two things: collecting leads and enquiries, or taking sales.

That’s its purpose. It’s what you’re paying for.

You’ve invested time and money into your website. That investment needs to make a return.

So you need to set it targets, just as you would with any other member of your sales team.

If you’re paying your salespeople £3,000 each month, you’re expecting them to bring in many times that. I like simple maths so we’ll say 10 times; a target of £30k per month.

Your salespeople are converting 20% of their leads into sales. So they need to be working £150k of leads each month.

And your average sale is £5k. Which means working 30 leads each month, resulting in six sales.

So you each month, you pay your salesperson £3k, they work 30 leads, turning six of them into sales, and make your business £30k revenue.

Now, most websites haven’t got their sales patter down yet. They need to hand leads off to a real person.

But if this business is putting £3k per month into their website, to match the sales team it should generate at least 30 good leads per month.

That’s your starting target.

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No investment, no return

We need to stop and talk money. If you don’t pay a salesperson’s wages, they won’t be making any sales.

If the only money you’re putting into your online operations is the cost of your domain name and your website hosting fee, I’d genuinely like to know, what are you expecting? Let me know: email me.

Managing website performance

So we’re investing £3k each month into our website, expecting 30 leads per month.

That £3k is mainly going to two places: advertising and labour. Whether that labour is an in-house employee or an agency’s fee doesn’t matter – it’s still part of your website’s wages.

Like our salespeople, our website should be getting better at its job over time.

Unlike our salespeople, any extra money put into existing online activity should have a proportionate increase in sales and leads. You’re doing the same thing, just more of it.

But we can also be more efficient. If we hone and refine our advertising campaigns they can work harder per pound spent.

And let’s be honest, when was the last time you reviewed your website performance?

If a salesperson is only converting 15% of their leads instead of the average 20%, you’d be having a word.

But the chances are you’ve no idea what your digital conversion rates are.

Which is pretty ironic, seeing as you’ll actually have more information from your website than your sales team.

Online KPIs

What gets measured gets managed, and luckily your website can measure everything.

But to get the best out of online you need to measure the right things.

And you also need to beware your website’s labour. They have a vested interest in making your website’s performance look great, because website performance is also one of their KPIs.

Having so much information means agencies and marketers can dazzle you with great stats. Even though they’re making no difference to your sales.

It’s like sitting down with your worst performing salesperson, and them telling you they make the tea faster than anyone else.

That’s cool, and it’s a stat, but it’s not relevant.

So these are the website performance KPIs you need to be watching.


Your website should be providing a minimum number of leads or sales each day, week and month.

No ifs, no buts.

If your site isn’t doing that, someone needs to be explaining why. And what’s being done to hit the target.

Email sign-ups

The first marketing email was sent in 1978. Email marketing took off in 1996 – over 25 years ago. Sending emails to potential and existing customers advertising your stuff isn’t new fangled magic.

And yet…

Email marketing is the cheapest, most effective, and most underused digital strategy going.

I hear different excuses – GDPR, not enough interesting content. Someone even said they don’t send any emails in case people unsubscribe from their list.

So you need to send emails, and that means you need to collect email addresses from potential customers so you can send them emails.

So how much did your email list grow by last month?


ROAS stands for Return On Ad Spend.

What defines a good ROAS depends on your industry, product and customers.

But ROAS improvement is one of the most important digital KPIs. Your agency or marketers should be optimising and refining to drive down the cost of acquiring new business through ads.

A happy ROAS is one that looks like this:

Graph Trending up

Not to be confused with CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPA (cost per acquisition), two other ad metrics which should be trending downwards.

Time for the sack

Sometimes we have to fire our website. Like an employee, we’ve invested time and money into it, but it’s just not improving.

Sometimes it’s no-ones fault. Your website was built for a different world, and your customers have changed.

They’ve changed the way they want to interact with your brand, and they’ve changed how they buy your product.

But choosing to sack your website isn’t easy.

You need to know what its replacement needs to do differently.

You need to understand what your business and industry looks like in five years time.

And you need to know how you’re going to measure its success.

Is your website under performing?