This tool can track visitor activity and assess how well your site turns browsers into buyers.

By Phillip M. Perry

So you’ve updated your website, and you love it. But what do your customers think? And what changes can you make that will spark more sales?

To find out, use a program that will track your visitor activity and assess how well your site turns browsers into buyers. “Website Optimizer,” from Google, allows you to experiment with variations of your website. You can track customer interactions on different versions of your landing page, for example, or test different designs of a catalog page.

“On one page of your website you can play around with different formats, or test one headline against another,” says Maren Bean, spokesperson for Google, Mountain View, California. “Which design results in the greatest customer response in terms of buying? The optimizer can also help you answer questions such as: How long do visitors stay on your pages? Do they move on to other pages on your site or just leave?”

When you use the Website Optimizer, visitors will see one version or another of your tested pages each time they land on your site. Depending on how much traffic you get, at some point the program will determine it has gathered enough data and provide an analysis.

One big attraction of this program is its simplicity: You don’t need much understanding of website programming to get the job done. “If you don’t have a lot of time or technical resources this is a great way to analyze your performance,” says Bean.

To learn more about this program visit www.google.com/support/websiteoptimizer and click on “Overview.”