To begin evaluating your redesign, you'll need objective and subjective measures for a 360-degree view of performance. For objective metrics consider starting with the following widely used Web stats:

  • Growth in traffic to key sections of your Website
  • Visitor navigation patterns – are visitors actually going to the pages you want them to, and how are they getting there
  • Change in abandonment rate on key pages
  • Referrer statistics – where is the traffic coming from
  • Growth in conversions – however defined for your particular business, e.g. sales leads, online transactions completed, customer inquiries, etc.
  • Pay-per-click advertising activity (if applicable) – growth in click-through rate and more importantly, conversions.
  • Number of pages updated or created on a monthly basis (fresh/relevant content is critical)

Drilling In

Going a step further, consider which specific metrics make sense for your site and business. Your answer will depend on industry and organization, so consider these examples:

  • Retail – growth in number and value of online transactions, basket composition (cross-selling effectiveness), reduction in phone/email customer service inquiries, growth in customer feedback on products/transactions (engagement)
  • Higher Education – Growth in number of applications for admission and requests for information, growth in giving/donations, increase in yield (shows engagement with prospective/accepted students).
  • Healthcare – Increased number of appointments via online channels, growth in online transactions and services (increasing operational efficiency), improved customer/patient satisfaction.
  • Associations – Membership growth and renewals, product/service sales to members, reduction in phone/email customer service inquiries.

Subjective Metrics
Beyond objective metrics, it is useful to understand how site performance impacts internal and external stakeholders. In terms of internal stakeholders, interviews can be used to understand what, if any, impact your Web transformation had on those aspects of the business that are most directly affected by your Web presence. For external stakeholders (your Website visitors) you can accomplish the same thing with an online survey. Yes, surveys can be hit or miss, but they’re still effective if properly implemented.

The Bottom Line
Your Web transformation project can have a significant impact on your organization’s success. Simply going through the motions, e.g., improving the UI, does not guarantee your site will end up performing any better. And, sometimes, even well-planned projects miss the mark – thought this is a far from tragic outcome if you know how and why.

The intent here is to understand the impact of our efforts – if all positive, then an opportunity to demonstrate in a reasonably objective way, the transformation’s impact on our business and view into the return on investment of our efforts. If our analysis indicates our efforts have not been as successful as we would like – no need to panic, since we should have the information we need to make appropriate course corrections. Either way, this measurement activity provides us with actionable information to help us optimize our Web management efforts – and this is in reality a never ending – and rewarding – process.