Website design clients need visuals to fully understand results. The most obvious example of this is that you can’t just tell a client their website has been built and it looks great – they need to see it for themselves.

When you’re helping web clients get results with marketing, sales, and SEO, looking at raw data won’t tell them much. Your web clients rely on you to tell them what the information means.

Raw data is useless without context

Raw data is important, but it doesn’t mean anything until it gets processed and analyzed within a specific context. One way to help clients see the meaning of data is to design a visual dashboard for their project.

With a visual dashboard, you can display information through helpful charts, graphs, and other visual elements. Everything the client sees will have already been processed and presented in a specific context.

For example, one graph might display their conversion rate as a percentage, which is derived from their visitor count and sales. Knowing their conversion rate makes it easy to set a goal to increase their conversions.

If you just tell your clients how many sales and visitors they get each month, they’ll struggle to create a worthwhile goal.

Giving clients raw data can move them in the wrong direction

Do you give clients reports with raw numbers pulled from all their accounts? Sometimes creating reports with a bunch of numbers seems like the right thing to do. Clients deserve to know everything about their progress, right?

While clients do need to know where they stand, raw data isn’t going to tell them where they stand for several reasons.

The complexity of raw data can be overwhelming for clients. No matter how much information a client wants, they won’t get that information from raw data. All raw data needs to be processed into useful information and interpreted.

Some clients won’t know what to do with raw data, but others might start making the wrong moves. For instance, when a client sees raw traffic data, they might start trying to generate more traffic when they really just need to convert more of their existing traffic.

In light of a low conversion rate, many people mistakenly believe they need more traffic. However, most of the time, conversion rates are low because the target audience is wrong or the sales copy needs work. The solution is to generate targeted traffic, not generate more traffic.

A visual dashboard will communicate what’s important

When you’re dealing with traffic, many clients become fixated on inflating traffic numbers. Ultimately, traffic doesn’t matter – conversions matter. If they’re not converting at 100%, traffic isn’t their problem.

It’s better to display a conversion rate alongside traffic and sales stats. When a client knows their conversion rate is 5%, and they’re generating 10,000 visitors per month, it will be clear that 95% of their visitors aren’t buying. This will help them see the value in increasing their conversion rate.

Visual dashboards are highly customizable

Visual dashboards can be customized however you want and can be as simple or complex as you’d like. Most dashboard applications come with pre-made templates that you can modify by swapping out or eliminating widgets. Or, you can use a drag-and-drop feature to build your own dashboard from scratch.

Visual dashboards can be simple, yet useful

Sometimes clients don’t want to know all of the details. When they’ve hired other people to do the work, they just want to know progress is being made. For these clients, a simplified visual dashboard is ideal.

For clients with simple needs, you can skip displaying minutia like daily/weekly/monthly email signups, various PPC stats like cost-per-click, and new Facebook fans.

Instead, construct a basic dashboard to display broad, important figures like daily/monthly/weekly/yearly revenue, returns, and SEO rankings for their top 10 keywords.

Remember to secure your clients’ dashboards

However you create your clients’ dashboards, remember to secure them from public view. If you use an application to build a dashboard, make full use of their security features.

If you create your own dashboards by embedding data, make sure you password-protect the directory where the dashboard is located. Better yet, add another layer of security by requiring a username and password to access the webpage.

Give clients what they need through visual dashboards

Your clients deserve to see their most important stats in an easy-to-use visual interface. If you haven’t yet, start creating visual dashboards to help your web clients set and achieve important goals.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.