March 9, 2016

How to Measure What Matters on Your Website

By Gayle Carney

An early question we ask clients who seek to create a website: How do you know the time and money you put in will pay off?

Our clients often stare back at us, gerontologist
flummoxed. Answering the investment question begins by undertaking the familiar task of developing outcomes. To know when you’ve reached your desired outcomes for your site, you need to rely on both qualitative and quantitative measures.

On the quantitative front, we recommend tracking website traffic by monitoring the trends on your Google Analytics account. You might feel intimidated by this; we understand perfectly. We, too, get frustrated with the constant changes Google Analytics makes to its tracking algorithms. Google develops these complicated rules to foil online marketers who don’t produce quality content and try to game the system to reach the top of anyone’s search results.

True, the rules have become so complex that a whole new career path is possible for young people to pursue. You could almost hear a child say: “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be an SEO Specialist so I can analyze page bounces!”

Now, you don’t have to be an SEO Specialist to glean information from Google Analytics. And checking in regularly will give you a data-informed picture of how people are using your website. You’ll need that information to make wise decisions about where to put your site’s resources. Still, if week after week, this task turns up at the bottom of your to-do list, we offer some more qualitative measures to assess whether you have a good website.

  1. People compliment the site’s look. (But don’t get too comfortable here.)
  2. Staff are no longer embarrassed to direct people to the site.
  3. People are talking about information they find there.
  4. The site guides people through your organization’s story with internal links.
  5. It encourages people to take an action – and they do.
  6. The site reflects – and even drives – other marketing materials.
  7. It connects to your social media channels and provides greater context for your social posts.
  8. The site works well on mobile platforms, guiding people to your most important and frequently visited content.
  9. The worst job in your organization is not updating your website.
  10. You have a system for refreshing content. What and how to post become part of your organization’s strategic planning.
  11. The site humanizes your organization. Through more than just words, visitors will learn:
  • Your values
  • Who you are now
  • Who you aspire to be
  • Your attitude, passion, and sense of optimism

Note that we did not say a good website should boost your organization’s donations. That’s too much responsibility for your website to bear alone. Organizations need to develop a thoughtful, multipronged fundraising plan to increase contributions.