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In Web Site Strategy and Planning, Jen Kramer shows that there’s more to building a web site than just implementation. She describes how to create a plan that will ensure the end product meets the client’s needs and is as efficient and scalable as possible. Jen explains how to identify the right technology for the design, whether it is CMS-driven or static, and how to organize content and graphics. She shows how to create a project proposal that includes pricing and milestones that demonstrate to the client that work is being done. She also discusses how to measure the success of the design through analytics and user feedback.
Dr. Stephen Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states that one of the habits of successful people is how they begin with the end in mind. We've been doing that throughout this chapter, thinking about who will use the website, who will maintain it, and how those updates happen. We also need to think about what a successful website is like and how we'll no success has happened. If web developers think about measuring success, and frequently they don't, they simply suggest using Google Analytics for the website.
Google Analytics is important. It measures who is coming to your website, what they're doing on the site, and where they leave the website. It can be tied in with online advertising campaigns in Google AdWords. But Google Analytics only goes so far and the results can be misleading. Once I had a client, who had an average site visit dip from 15 minutes to 5 minutes after a site redesign. He initially thought that was a very bad thing.
The site was no longer engaging and people were leaving. I argued that that was not the case at all. The old site was so obfuscated that it took users a long time to figure out what they needed. The new site was easier to navigate so they got in and they got out much more quickly. Who was right? You'll only know with user testing. There are other ways of measuring success. For example, phone calls about store hours and location drop because it's easier to find on a website, measure by tracking this by people who answer the phone.
Let's think about Hansel & Petal. Kirk Hansel instructs all people taking phone calls to ask, "How did you hear about us?" and, "Did you look at our website before you called today?" They email him the answers that they get, while talking to these potential clients. Hansel also wants to book 12 weddings in the next six months, or two weddings a month. Normally, they book one wedding every other month. He also wants to contact 50 midsized local businesses and convert at least five customers over the next year.
For the website, he wants to see people filling in the contact form more frequently and making calls, having already looked at the site. He'd like to have at least 100 fans in the next month on Facebook and he'd like to get at least 200 Twitter followers. He plans on researching wedding planners and following them on Twitter as well as following the LA Convention Center and some prominent logistics planners in the movie industry. Begin with the end in mind. Know what success looks like before you start so you know how to measure it in the end.
Google Analytics is a useful tool for measuring traffic patterns, but it's not your only metric.
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