5 Steps to Measuring Nonprofit Website Success
It is fair to say that most successful nonprofits can attribute some of their achievements to their websites. After all, your website communicates your unique value to the world and is an important fundraising and advocacy tool for your organization.
Because your website is so important, we should consider some ways to evaluate and measure its success.
Here are five key steps that can be easily measured with Google Analytics:
- Step 1: Identify your goals, track them and assign values. What are the most important objectives of your website? What specific actions do you want visitors to take? Here are some common examples: make a donation, subscribe to a newsletter, download a resource or visit an important page. Now set up goal tracking to see how visitors are reaching those goals. Pro tip: Assign a dollar value to each goal and you can tell how much each Web page and traffic source is contributing to your bottom line.
- Step 2: Become a conversion investigator. Nonprofits spend a lot of effort getting people to visit their websites, so if your visitors aren't converting or achieving your goals, it's important to figure out why. There could be a variety of factors, like too many required steps to complete a donation, call-to-action icons that are too small or poor placement of your newsletter sign-up button. See what conversion metrics need a boost, and experiment with your site's content and layout to see what works best.
- Step 3: Understand your bounce rates. Bounce rates are the percentage of people who visit your website and immediately leave after viewing only one page. It is important to examine the search term, ad or post that originated the click, because there is likely a disconnect between the content the visitor sought and the content that was delivered on your page. A common source of high bounce rates is visitors not finding what they want right away. Think about ways to communicate visually, and use headings that let the visitors know they have found what they are looking for — and then provide them links to other content within your site. Strive to get at least two to five pageviews per visitor to your site. This will reduce your bounce rate and increase the chances that your marketing campaigns are not wasting time and money.
- Step 4: Discover important audience acquisition channels and content usage. There are channels that visitors may use to reach your website, like Facebook, Twitter, organic search and paid search. If you segment your reports by channel and then look at the visitor types, visitor orbit, content consumed and dollar value of conversions, you can then make important decisions about where to best invest your time and financial resources. For example, you might discover that most visits from Facebook are returning visitors vs. new visitors and the number of days between visits is lowest when you post content that speaks to recent achievements. You might also discover that newsletter subscriptions and donations are highest when you run ads in paid search.
- Step 5: Make the most of mobile traffic. More than ever, supporters are browsing the Web with their smartphones and tablets, so spend some time discovering how many visitors are coming to your site from mobile devices. Are they viewing multiple pages? Staying for a long time? Are they making donations or bouncing away quickly? It's just as important — if not more important — to consider the mobile user experience. If you need help making your website more mobile-friendly, you can find a ton of resources at Google Multi-Screen Resources website.
Hopefully your mind is racing with new ideas. The best part is that you now have five simple steps that can be easily measured with Google Analytics to evaluate and measure your nonprofit's website success.
Dwight Davis is director of inbound marketing at Salsa Labs.