Measuring and improving the performance of a website

Traditional business managers and economic strategists have always had at their disposal a variety of methods for measuring and evaluating the degree of success of business objectives. For example, an increase in productivity, cost reduction initiatives, meeting certain sales goals, or the impact of an advertising campaign are all objectives that can be methodically measured and directly linked to a quantifiable level of success within a specific timeframe. Then, as businesses successfully accomplish their short-term goals, they are able to establish and pursue mid or longer term initiatives.

When those same business managers and strategists that are used to operating in traditional environments, and therefore are very familiar with managing and classifying clients, calculating penetration ratios, measuring profitability and forecasting sales, are now faced with the new paradigm of a virtual business, they seem to forget that most of what they already know and do, including the use of common sense, is equally applicable to an online economy. However, in many cases, it is very difficult to see how a company’s website aligns with its general business strategy and in extreme cases, a website’s only purpose is to provide the company with a presence on the Internet.

This reality is even more paradoxical if one looks at the fact that the Internet, due to its technological foundation and highly interactive nature, provides the ideal ground for quickly testing cabo realty new ideas, inexpensively measuring their results, and effortlessly obtaining direct customer feedback to guide future changes or improvements. Let’s therefore take a look at some factors that will allow us to measure the performance of a web site in terms of its ROI, and also at some strategies that our traditional business managers will have to establish to guarantee that the same level of success that they are accustomed to is also achieved in a virtual online economy.

1. A website must be fully aligned with the corporate strategic objectives

The objectives for a website must closely follow the general strategy for the company, as established by their executive management. Therefore, when the term website is used, it should not be interpreted as a piece of the company’s Information Technology (IT) or computer systems. Instead, the term website should trigger and be identified with concepts such as Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, Customer Service, Product Support, etc. In other words, if IT is the department responsible for your company’s website you should have plenty of reasons to worry.

2. A website must establish tactical objectives

After the general strategic planning has been completed for the website, each department must then establish the objectives for their own area of responsibility as an integral part of the overall plan.