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The value in setting KPIs for successful web projects

A new web project is on the horizon; you’ve defined the objectives, who will be involved and ultimately, how the end result will benefit the user. But have you defined what success will look like once it has been implemented?

Danielle MeeCampaign manager
less than a minute11 September 2023

A new web project is on the horizon; you’ve defined the objectives, who will be involved and ultimately how the end result will benefit the user. But have you defined what success will look like once it has been implemented?

TL;DR [too long; didn't read] 🤯

  • Do you want more or fewer phone calls?
  • Do you want to encourage actions to be carried out online, replacing offline?
  • Do you want to increase web traffic to certain areas of your website?

Knowing what you want to achieve from the outset will help guide your project's direction and ensure that the goal is never overlooked for gimmicks or trend-led features. That is where key performance indicators come in.

Why the KPI?

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are quantitative measures of performance and progress tracked against a business objective. It is essential to set KPIs for several reasons, the most important being that you can't measure what you don't track.

A project to develop a new website, app or digital service requires time and money, and with most investments, you want to know if it had a good return. It's excellent if your digital project launches on time, but you must see if it's performing as intended and, ultimately, if the cost of the project and the project team's work have been justified.

How can you confirm you met your key objective, for example, reducing phone calls and increasing online requests, if you're not monitoring this activity all the time? Without this data, it's impossible to gauge if you've met your success criteria.

Tracking KPIs puts a number on your success and recognises the impact of the work. It could even become the baseline for an award submission, so don't miss the opportunity to blow your own trumpet! Get tracking your KPIs because who doesn't love a good statistic?

Track the success of your new web development project

We've made it clear that you can't measure what you don't track, so what should project managers monitor to define success? Your KPIs depend on your business goals and objectives; you don't need to track everything just because the internet tells you.

If your goal is digital transformation, you'd likely focus on reducing offline activity, requests or processes, such as phone calls, and increasing online requests, such as form submissions.

Reflect on your success criteria, and you'll easily define your key performance indicators. We've compiled a list of example web metrics you might want to track, depending on your goals.

Examples of key performance indicators to track

  • Total web traffic
  • Time on site
  • Page load speed (accessibility & engagement)
  • Conversion rate
  • Offline requests vs online requests (digital transformation)
  • Accessibility
  • Savings

Total web traffic - organic and paid 🚦

We all know that the more visitors to your website, the better. Fundamentally, that is the purpose of your website.

Therefore, tracking the percentage increase in visitors is a good gauge of how you have improved on your previous website.

Time on site ⏳

This metric indicates that the information and content displayed are relevant to the audience and entice them to stick around on your site.

If your previous website struggled to keep users engaged for a long time, restructuring your information architecture or providing better quality content should help up the time spent on the site.

Page load speed (accessibility & SEO) - lighthouse score 🚀

Page load speed is one of the most critical metrics for user experience (UX). The longer it takes for a page to load, the less likely a user will stick around.

Take your previous load speeds as a benchmark and compare them with the new site. Tools like Google Lighthouse measure page quality and provide recommendations for improving user experience.

Conversion rate 🎯

Conversion rate tracking tracks any action a web user takes that is meaningful for your business. A conversion can be a sale made online, but essentially, it's just tracking an action made on your website, which could also be a phone call, a contact form submission, a newsletter sign-up, or booking a service.

Conversion rate measures how easy it has been to carry out an action on your website. The better your web experience, the more conversions you'll likely see.

Digital transformation - offline vs online requests 📲

Whilst conversions cover this metric, if your goal was digital transformation, tracking the offline to online request metric will prove how successful the digital transformation was.

For example, Contensis users Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police had an 80% reduction in non-emergency telephone calls when implementing their new award-winning website.

By creating a web service that was fit for purpose and made reporting non-urgent crimes easy, the constabulary freed up the force's contact centres to deal with time-critical emergency calls.

Digital transformation - offline process vs online process 📚

Similar to the point made above, if your goal is digital transformation, the proof that your project was successful is the implementation of new digital strategies.

For example, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) replaced 16 print publications with a new digital service powered by Contensis.

The old process required updating and reprinting 16 PDF print publications, with over 200 pages, every two years. In contrast, the new approach has replaced inaccessible PDFs with an accessible CMS and created greater efficiency reusable content that can be updated whenever required across the web-based resource.

Image of the Insytful accessibility tool user interface

Accessibility 🦾

Accessibility and inclusivity are now vital considerations in web development projects. Government and the private sector have a legal obligation to ensure digital products and services can be accessed by all, so measuring the accessibility of a site or app is now an essential KPI for project managers. By using a tool like Insytful, you can see where your site is lagging when it comes to accessibility and use the reports provided to give your web developers and editors tangible things to work on to improve your service.

Savings 💸

Finally, whilst it might not be a usual key performance indicator, a goal or business objective may be to save money by implementing a new digital system.

Therefore, knowing how much you spent previously compared with the savings made with a new website can track whether you met your organisation's goal.

For example, by replacing multiple printed brochures with a fit-for-purpose content management system, the OMAFRA team cut $1.6million in production costs every two years.

How can I track my KPIs for project success?

Using analytics tools like Google Analytics for specific web metrics will give you and your project team visibility of your metrics over time. You could then feed these metrics into a dashboard tool to compare them to other statistics you have identified as critical to the success of your project. For example, you could have data for calls to a university call centre next to the number of visits to the clearing page on your website. This comparison could tell you how a new digital performs against a previous access method.

It's crucial to integrate the tracking of these key metrics into every stage of your project. This creates a transparent and accountable culture within the project delivery team and makes project management easier as everyone is aligned with the goals of the product or service.

There are different project management methodologies which you can use to run a web development project, but some make regular inspection of KPIs easier. At Zengenti, we use Agile methods, specifically SCRUM, to deliver products, and as part of that, we use a project management tool called JIRA. The specific tool you use isn't that important, but it needs to give you the ability to track your progress towards completing your projects and meeting your KPIs.

Visibility of tasks and KPIs allows your team to see where they are in the project timeline and course correct when needed. If the data doesn't look right, why keep ploughing time and effort into something which isn't working?

Checklist for successful web development projects:

  • Set your KPIs at the outset to lead the vision of the project
  • Check your KPIs align with your top-level objectives and company goals
  • Check if the product owner has set the direction
  • Take measurements of your previous website, intranet or service as a benchmark for your next web project

Wrapping up

Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for web projects is not just a routine exercise but a strategic necessity.

Through the implementation of well-defined KPIs, web development teams can effectively track progress, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately drive the success of their projects. These KPIs serve as compass points, guiding teams towards achieving project objectives and ensuring alignment with broader business goals.

The value of setting KPIs extends beyond project management. It creates a culture of accountability, where team members are empowered to take ownership of their work and contribute meaningfully to the project's success.

Danielle MeeCampaign manager

Danielle is a campaign manager working within the marketing team. Her background is in global B2B marketing, with a focus on digital marketing campaigns.

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