Thursday, April 30, 2009

Developing a Web Metrics Strategy

Many of us collect a lot of data about our websites. Oftentimes, the challenge is not that we have too little data, but that we have too much or not the right kind of data to make informed, strategic decisions - at the right time. We often collect data to track individual, discrete performance measures. But to really have an impact, we need to compile, analyze and act on the data in an integrated, systematic way. Having an overall strategy and plan will help you do this.

A strategic plan for evaluating your website will help you:
  • collect only the data you need to make informed, strategic decisions
  • identify priority "action areas" for improvement, measure the impact of those actions; and keep your customers coming back
  • determine benchmarks and performance goals you should aspire to, and the extent to which you’re achieving them
  • determine whether you’re getting a return on the investment you’ve made to build, operate and maintain your websites,
  • evaluate how well your website is helping achieve your agency’s mission
How to Develop a Plan

You should develop a plan - a strategy - and review and adjust it regularly. You should ask these questions:
  • What do you need to measure? What are your requirements?
  • How will you measure it?
  • What tools will you use?
  • What methodologies are needed to gather the data you need?
  • What will you do with the results?
  • How will the results help meet the goals for your website and your agency’s mission?
  • How does the plan fit with your agency’s overall strategic and performance plan? And other the plans of individual program offices?
Here are some steps to take to help you develop a strategy for evaluating your website:
  • Talk to other stakeholders and ask them to tell you their needs. Some stakeholders will be your IT department, designers and developers, and business divisions, each area having unique needs to be considered.
  • Write a formal requirements document that you can use in your search and to compare vendor features.
  • Consider all the ways in which you can evaluate your web site.


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