'Case Studies'

Case Study: Effects of a Professional Web Design

30 JUN 2010 3

Today we're going to examine the effects of a professional redesign we completed for one of our clients (Ariss Valley , a golf course just outside of Guelph). Now before we get started, the usual legal fine print that people hide applies: this isn't a claim or guarantee of results if you work with us, just a case study of one of our clients.  It's not particularly scientific, as I'm looking at the limited data set we have available to us right now.

When Ariss Valley first approached us, they had a completely flash-based site.  Visually it wasn't the worst site I have seen, but a fully flash-based site has a lot of negatives. For starters, it almost always requires web designer intervention to make any changes and updates to your content, and while there are ways around it, typically flash sites are at the very least hindered from a SEO perspective and require more work (and therefore more money) to optimize properly.

We began hosting the Ariss Valley site in late April, so that's where our server logs start. For the month of April, I extrapolated results based on the daily average of the one third or so of the month we had stats for.  The new website we developed for them was launched around May 17th, so it was live for about 14 days in May.  Below, we have a table comparing their traffic and other stats from April to May:



Search Engine Visits

Bounce Rate













Comparing the data from April (last full month with the old website) vs. June (first full month with the new website) brings about some pretty startling revelations. Let's take a look:


Right off the bat, from April to June they saw an increase in traffic over 70%, which is a huge jump. That's just a stone's throw from double the traffic! Looking at the daily stats in May, the traffic ramped up significantly around the time we launched the website and continued on to the end of the month and into June.  An improvement of this amount alone should put a grin from ear to ear on any site owner's face, but things get even more interesting as we examine what drove this increase in traffic and how users interacted with the site.

Search Engine Visits

These represent the number of visitors that came to the site from a search on Google, Yahoo or Bing.  As you can see, the visits almost tripled from April to June... and while that's obviously a great improvement, when you look at the search terms they were found, on the news gets better. In April, almost ALL of their search engine traffic came from terms directly related to their business name. That means most of the users that found them through a search engine already knew of or about their business and were looking for it specifically.

The June results tell a different story completely: While the searches related to their business name still remained very strong, they saw a huge increase in subject related terms such as "guelph golf courses". We're talking going from < 50 visits to several hundred. This likely means that users who aren't specifically looking for them, but just want information on a golf course in their area, are now finding the Ariss Valley website.

Bounce Rate

We've saved the best news for last!  Bounce Rate is the amount of visitors that leave a website within 30 seconds of arriving, so like a golf score, you want it as low as possible.  A high bounce rate usually means the user didn't find what they were looking for or didn't like what they saw and left almost as soon as they arrived.  In April, the Ariss Valley site's bounce rate was an abysmal 79.9% -- that means for every 100 visitors, 80 of them left before spending any real time on the website. Fast forward to this month, and their bounce rate has plummeted to a much more respectable 39.6%. While there's always room  for improvement, they've essentially improved their bounce rate 100% over what it was.

In Summary

While we don't have any firm statistics on actual improvement of business, based on the traffic improvements and performance of their new site,  it's more than reasonable to assume that people  are coming to Ariss Valley because of their new and improved site -- that is, people who wouldn't have come to them otherwise.  In real business terms, this means their new website wasn't a cost, but an investment that is going to pay off and start earning them money.

Do you still think your website is "okay" or "good enough"?  Websites are becoming more and more important to business every day, and a "good enough" attitude could be costing your business money.

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