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Web Site Optimization That Costs Nothing -- But Time

Good, free advice is rare. Good free advice that only confirms what you've been saying all along is even rarer but yesterday both happened to me and it concerns something all smaller businesses should be doing: Web site optimization.
Good, free advice is rare. Good free advice that only confirms what you've been saying all along is even rarer but yesterday both happened to me and it concerns something all smaller businesses should be doing: Web site optimization.I attended the taping of InformationWeek's Startup City TV video interviews of Boston-area startups conducted by IW's editor John Foley. Foley graciously allowed me to be a fly on the wall and learn which companies were developing products or services that would be of interest to small and midsize businesses.

One of those companies, SiteSpect, which tests and optimizes Web sites, was not one of them. The company's co-founder and vice president, Larry Epstein, quickly told me that the company's customers are mostly large and sometimes midsize enterprises.

But Epstein was willing to give smaller businesses some free advice: For Web site optimization, Google Website Optimizer is worth a look by smaller businesses. And considering the fact that it's free, it can't hurt.

But Epstein had more to share. Free doesn't necessarily mean that smaller businesses don't have to invest anything here: To get accurate, meaningful results, Epstein said smaller businesses need to put a little time into this tool. "Free tools will save money on acquisition price but you still have to spend time to reach statistical significance," he said.

Epstein recommended letting the Web site optimizer run for at least a month to get numbers that will mean anything to a site. "You can't cheat the process," he said.

While we're on the subject of free Google tools, here at bMighty we've been using Google Docs for a couple of weeks and I can't speak for my c-workers but I love it. Documents can be viewed, edited, and shared by all of us and they are always available, no matter where I am. If I run into any problems, I'll let you know, but so far it's been a great Google ride.

Have you used any of Google's free tools in your smaller business? Let us know in the comments.

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