The obvious place to start is how to attract visitors. First of all one must need to know how successful the existing website is and what works and what doesn’t since a lot of effort has gone into the past website design so there must be something that is worth keeping.
Benchmarking is to identify what you will be comparing your website to so that you can measure the improvement as well as identify what is working well and where you need to adjust your website to get the results you want. In effect you place a stake in the ground and use this as your starting point.
What to benchmark?
· Your website performance against objectives
- What are your website objectives
- How do you know if and when you have reached them
- What to do to improve the performance
- What impact did those improvements make – did they work
· Performance analytics of your existing website
- What metrics/information do I need
- Where do you get the information
- Where do you start
§ a common recurring question at this stage it will depend on a lot of factors based on what you have done with your website and your organization so far.
It all begins with what are you trying to do with your website.
So start at the very beginning with the purpose of your website, ask yourself what are you trying to achieve with your website, what is the desired outcome. If that is difficult or not as crystal clear as it should be then one needs to go even further back to know what your organization’s vision and mission is. Actually that is where you should really start.
If your organization has a clear purpose and direction then it is easy to determine what the website should be doing to help you accomplish your organizational goals. If not then this is the place to start. Although there is a lot about the precise meaning of a vision/mission/value statements and many organizations spend huge amounts of time developing these statements, but all you really need to do is clearly state what your organizations objectives are. If you stick to these then it becomes clear what you need to do for your website.
How do you know if you have a good vision/mission? Here are some examples:
eBay: “eBay’s mission is to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.”
Coca-Cola: see http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/ourcompany/mission_vision_values.html
Web-Insight: our objective is to provide measurable performance analysis and insights to organizations that will enable them to significantly improve their website performance, enhance the visitors experience and improve their bottom line.
If you don’t have a vision statement or think you need to refresh your existing vision/mission/values statement consider the approach that Web-Insight deployed – a facilitated brainstorming workshop approach where a cross representative of an organization’s employees meet to review the vision and mission of the organization and to clarify or update the existing vision. The outcome is a concise statement that will be the guiding principle for the organization and consequently the website.
This can be simple or take a long time to work out and is fundamental to the success of any business. If you are at this stage of defining or clarifying your vision, either focus on this internally by taking everyone (for a small organization) or the key people to sort this out. The best place to find out more about this process is to visit Quality based Organizations such as American Society for Quality (ASQ), Malcolm Baldridge (US) or National Quality Institute (Canada) to develop this. Lots of other resources abound.
The bottom line have a clear statement of purpose that is measurable.
Next step your website objectives.