Having a quality website that is consistently attracting traffic is no longer the nice-to-have that it might have been years ago. It has become a necessity. With that in mind, assessing website performance and tracking progress are important tasks for an organization to undertake, but starting such a project can be overwhelming.
During their session, “We Are the Champions of . . . What, Exactly? Tracking Digital Metrics That Matter” at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Autumn Rose, analytics director for Forum One, and Minal Bopaiah, founder of Brevity & Wit, discussed how to lay out and track website performance. Among the tips provided included:
- Align your team toward a consistent set of objectives. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the numbers that tell the story of your organization’s performance. Metrics should receive a buy-in from organizational leadership, have the ablility to be influenced through organizational efforts, and capable of being monitored with available staff and resources;
- Set your targets based on past performance. Your organization needs to know where it is before it knows where it can improve. For this reason, do not fear unflattering numbers early on because they can help illustrate improvements down the line. Make sure that goals are sustainable for both staff and budgetary resources;
- Have the right equipment to track progress. Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Meltwater are all options;
- Evaluate bounce rate, single-page sessions on your site, as well as pages visited per session;
- Do not compare your organization to others as an apples-to-apples comparison is unlikely. Data is collected and calculated differently with variations including how “new users” are defined, differing goals for various content, and target audiences behaving differently as compared to others; and,
- Communicate results and sell internal audiences on your success in relatable terms. For program managers, a weekly or monthly synthesized report keeping track of objectives might be appropriate. For directors, consider monthly reports with a few charts highlighting tactics that were uniquely successful and anticipated future performance. At the board and CEO levels, develop quarterly or annual showcases of highlights and future goals. Also use such presentations as opportunities to seek out additional staff or budgetary resources.