My Website’s Signal to Noise Ratio

April 7, 2008  

In  audio, there is the concept of the “signal to noise” ratio.  This is the ratio of a signal (what you want – such as the music) to the noise (what you don’t want – such as the background noise).  Higher ratios are better.

Over the past few months, we have been doing some interesting analysis and experiments on our website. 

Our core finding?  We had a low signal to noise ratio.  Although we have lots of “content” (signal), visitors have a difficult time finding the gems.

Here’s what we did. 

We installed Google Analytics.  We quickly discovered that we had an 82% abandonment rate.  That is, of the 20,000+ visitors each month, only 18% stayed for any length of time.  We hypothesized that there could be two main reasons for this: 1) we had the wrong visitors (so they left), or 2) our visitors were confused and did not know what to do.  Assuming the latter to be true, my web guru (Ariel Coro) tried some experiments.  When he removed half of the options on the home page (fewer menu items, less content, and reduced clickable images) we reduced the abandonment rate to 58% in a matter of days.  42% of the people now interact with the site.  This mean I have tripled the number of active participants…by giving them fewer options.

We also looked at blog statistics.  There we noticed that quantity beat out quality.  My blog strategy has been to write almost daily.  As a result, people had difficulty finding the best blog entries because they were lost in a sea of “filler.” Our solution?  We will replace our blog with monthly “briefs.”  These briefs will be longer, meatier, value-oriented pdf files with high quality content. 

We will be launching a new website within the next few weeks.  The improved site will be simpler and streamlined with fewer options and more content.  We will provide a larger article repository.  We will enable interactivity.  We will give you more of what you want…and less of what you don’t.  Our goal: a high signal to noise ratio. 

Simplicity is the best innovation.

Stay tuned for the launch.

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3 Responses to “My Website’s Signal to Noise Ratio”

  1. When Less Is More… | Aspiring Business on April 7th, 2008 8:14 pm

    [...] I saw a great post from Stephen Shapiro on recognizing that his website wasn’t very effective:  My Website’s Signal to Noise Ratio.  [...]

  2. karl Staib l Your Happiness Matters on April 7th, 2008 10:14 pm

    Your thoughts on a good blog make me look at my own blog. I could use a streamline a few things to make it more reader friendly. I look forward to seeing the new site.

  3. An Open Innovation Dilemma | Stephen Shapiro on Innovation, Creativity, Goals & Performance on April 30th, 2008 9:21 am

    [...] Recent Comments Gordon on Open InnovationOpen Innovation | Stephen Shapiro on Innovation, Creativity, Goals & Performance on 6 Ways Innovation Can Recession-Proof Your BusinessHow To Get Blogging Ideas When You Are Stuck | on Articles on InnovationNew Innovation Article | Stephen Shapiro on Innovation, Creativity, Goals & Performance on Articles on Innovationkarl Staib l Your Happiness Matters on My Website’s Signal to Noise Ratio [...]