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Treat your website like an employee

20th January 2015

3-minutes read

As a business owner or manager, you’ll have occasions when a new employee joins your team. In the lead up to this, you’ll work out a job description for their role and you’ll think about their performance objectives.

Beyond this, you’ll also have in mind how best to manage your newstarter’s performance, should you find that they’re not working at the level you’d like. You will know what "good performance” looks like and there’ll be procedures in place that help you measure how they’re doing.

And before any of this practical preparation happened, you’ll have recognised an underlying need for the new person: why do you need them? What should they do? Why will your team or organisation be better off once they start?

What's this go to do with your website?

Well… quite a lot really, because the thought process you should adopt when thinking about your website is no different to the way you think about a new employee.

Initially, you need to identify your site’s strategic purpose. For commercial organisations, this may be to do with generating more sales leads or converting website visitors into "warm prospects”. If you work in the public sector, the purpose of your website may focus more on communicating information.

And thereafter, once your site is launched, you need a mechanism in place that allows you to measure your site’s success. When you start to think about this, you begin to focus on some important points:

  • What is "success"?
  • How often is it happening?
  • What makes it happen?

What is success?

In the context of your website, understanding what success looks like usually involves identifying good outcomes from website visitors. These are typically things such as:

  • Completing your online enquiry form
  • Signing up for your newsletter
  • Following you on Twitter / liking you on Facebook
  • Completing your checkout process

How often is it happening?

Whenever these things happen, it’s good for you and the more often they happen, the happier you are! However, you will have expectations about how often each outcome should occur and it’s the comparison between your expected outcome and the actual outcome that’s important.

For instance, if you know your website currently yields one completed checkout per day, while the fact that someone has bought something is, in itself, a good thing… the fact that it’s only happening once a day may not be enough for you!

What makes success happen / stops it happening?

This is the most important part! If, after a few months, a new employee is struggling to achieve the performance level you’d like, it’s not enough simply to realise this. You need to work out why. Is there a skills issue that can be rectified with training? Is there a capacity issue? Does the employee completely understand the priorities of the tasks they’re responsible for? If you can address these issues, your employee’s performance will improve.

And so it is with your website. If you’re getting some online enquiries but not enough, what’s causing the lack of interaction? Do you get enough visitors to your site? Are they the right visitors? Have you provided sufficient information to put them in a position where they’re ready to make an enquiry?

With a website, these "why” questions are difficult to answer but Google Analytics has a role to play here and, if configured correctly, it can provide meaningful insights.

Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

Jeremy Flight

About the author

This article was written in January 2015 by Jeremy Flight, Technical Director at Rubiqa.

He has worked in the web design industry since 1999 and has helped many private businesses and public sector organisations with complex website projects. As the technical lead at Rubiqa, he is the primary contributor to our software products and is involved with projects relating to website design, eCommerce, database systems and mobile apps.

Away from work, Jeremy is a qualified cricket coach and works with junior players at his local club. He is also interested in property investment, golf, photography, playing the piano and holidaying in France.

Connect with Jeremy Flight on LinkedIn

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