It’s the moment of truth. The moment when you finally know whether your new website is a lead machine or a money pit. It happens. Virtually every business owner with an internet presence has been there. The moment when your new website is live and you can finally determine if your web design project was a huge success or a dismal failure. This is the thirty-day mark and what I call the moment of truth.
Thirty is the Magic Number
Once a new website or redesign is thirty days old, you can start to tell what the world thinks about your SEO, usability, and general esthetics. Are you getting visitors, are they staying, and are they converting to leads or sales? All basic questions, but questions that still offer a significant amount of value.
As a web design firm we spend anywhere from four weeks to six months on web development projects with our clients. While the process typically offers great rewards, it does come at a price. It is hard work hard. Make no mistake, designing and launching a new website takes much more effort than anyone ever imagines. My clients are generally so excited about the aesthetics and coding in WordPress, they forget about the content. Or ignore they it; I’m not really sure. Eventually they finish content and we launch their new pride and joy. We tweet about it, we promote it, and we welcome friends, family, and business associates to come and view our beautiful new baby. And then we wait. We wait for the analytics to arrive to see how Google, Bing, and the visitors feel about our baby. Is she a beauty queen or an ugly Betty? Analytics will tell us. It always does.
Knowing if you’ve succeeded or failed is much easier than one might think. While there are many ways to judge project success, I encourage our clients to review some basic factors in valuing success or failure. You get more advanced over time, but focusing on some core items will help get you started and knowing if your new website is a hero or a zero.
The Moment of Truth: Five Metrics You Can You to Decide if Your Website Project Was a Huge Success or a Dismal Failure
- Position in Search – Where do you stand for your top keyword and phrases? Has your position for these core keywords increased or decreased with the new website design in place? Design does matters to SEO. Some websites have architecture that is so old and corrupt, it negates any on-page or off-page SEO factors. On the flip side, some designers and coders or so unaware of SEO, they create a design and coding structure that kills SEO best practices. Redesigning your website with basic SEO fundamentals in mind will absolutely improve your search position and traffic from organic searches.
- Website Traffic – Did overall website traffic increase, decrease, or stay stagnate? I don’t know is not an acceptable answer, because this is very easy to see in Google Analytics. Just create an annotation in Google Analytics for the date you’re website went live and you’ll quickly see the before and after traffic differences. You can even compare one month this year versus the same month last year so you can see a true apples to apples comparison that isn’t altered by seasonable adjustments. When you’ve done things right, you’ll have a success story to brag about and have metrics of growth at exponential rates.
- Social Interaction – Have you increase Facebook likes and Twitter followers? Has your sharing of content gone through the roof? Again, Google Analytics makes this easy to see. Launching a website that presents strong content that is easy to share will produce results. There is a direct correlation to the quality of content and the ease of sharing it with social mentions and inbound traffic from social media websites.
- Leads – Having website traffic isn’t enough. While I do believe the basic number of leads is important, I think the quality of those leads is more important. I would much rather have ten high quality leads than thirty low quality leads. You need to make sure you are receiving the right traffic and that this traffic is converting to leads or sales. Making this happen is dependent on writing content that is not only easy to read and digest, but also making sure it is written for your target demographic. Combine this with a strong visual presence and you’re going to have success.
- Revenue – The bottom line is one through four doesn’t really matter unless money begins to flow as a result of the website redesign. When I speak with past clients I always ask about traffic. Once we discuss that, I quickly jump to leads and revenue. I want to know their traffic has increased, but I really want to know their revenue has increased. Increasing your revenue is the easiest way to quickly know your redesign was a success. It is quantifiable and it is a language that any CEO or CFO can digest.
What About Intangible Benefits?
Over the last week we’ve been working extremely hard on completing a website design project for a big ten university. The nature of this website and their target audience isn’t going to scream success by increases of revenue and leads. The website isn’t designed to do that, so we can’t use that in our analysis of success. Their measurement of success will be much less quantifiable. It will be based on more intangible factors like usability, ease of data access, and information transfer. It will be based more on the happiness factor than the income factor because all of these are soft measurements of success. To this university’s executive committee, it is of paramount importance and yet it still completely contradicts my point number five above.
Whether your website success is measured by tangible or intangible factors, we can help.
Contact us today to let us know how we can help you in your next website project.