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Advance Your Mission, Monitor Your Progress

At the beginning of any project, we always ask our clients what their goal for their website is, and what constitutes a successful site. Most respond similarly: they want a site that is easy to navigate, a site that looks authoritative, and a site that is easy to use.  But what does that mean, exactly?

How do we know when we’ve achieved it? We can answer these questions by identifying success metrics for an Analytics Strategy. For commercial sites, goal tracking can be simpler – the ultimate goal would be to make a sale. That doesn’t mean that a non-commercial organization doesn’t have measurable goals, however – they just need to be defined!

A great place to start is to look inwards and ask, what are my organizational goals. The new site will support the organization or initiative it is built for, so look at your organization’s goals and how the site should support them. Defining your goals will help define success, and help us narrow down some of the infinite combinations of functionality we will build to support those goals. The big thing is to remain focused, and prioritize functionality that support your goals.

Some samples of common goals and support metrics are below:

membership organization trying to expand recruit more members

  • Increasing search traffic around key recruitment-oriented words
  • Increasing online membership registration
  • Sharing or recommending the organization to a peer through email or social media

policy organization that wants to motivate the public to take action

  • Signing online petitions
  • Sharing links and action messages through social media
  • Increasing traffic and time on page to key content

research organization looking to publish data and findings

  • Downloading reports
  • Subscribing to newsletters promoting new releases
  • Monitoring engagement with interactives
  • Downloading raw data

An activist organization looking to raise funds for a cause

  • Making online donations
  • Engagement with key messages
  • Sharing links and action messages through social media

community organization that wants to foster collaboration and engagement

  • Integrating social media messaging
  • Commenting on community content
  • Posting and sharing resources
  • Registering for meetings

Every organization is unique, but all should have a shared understanding of what they would like to achieve online and how progress is measured. Defining success metrics and creating an analytics strategy does just that by mapping organizational goals to website functionality. Just because most nonprofits and government agencies do not sell products online doesn’t mean they can’t define and monitor web success.